Interoperability Changes and Resolutions
Recent legislation in healthcare magnify the continued need for standardization in electronic health information. The primary challenge is to encourage software developers and industry leaders to agree upon a format that crosses disciplines, acute and post-acute settings, programming languages and existing standards for medical diagnosis, procedures and terminologies. The semantic web is a significant step in reaching interoperability in healthcare and transcending the current challenges associated with data exchange.
The continuum of care is the primary goal is ensuring that patient information is communicated to the appropriate providers in an efficient and comprehensive way. When, for example a patient is discharged from a hospital and subsequently admitted to home health, information needed by the home health agency needs to come from a variety of sources. A pharmacy needs to submit current medication information. Labs have latest blood work that a home health nurse needs. The hospital needs to communicate a discharge summary to the home health agency. Any durable medical equipment the patient has need to be submitted as well. All of this information should theoretically have one final destination where the information may be retrieved and updated. This is the challenge of healthcare interoperability.
The semantic web is a possible solution in tying all patient information together in a concise manner. Specifically, the Resource Description Format (RDF) is a tool that may be used to standardize information that comes from various databases into one standard database. In order to determine how feasible this is, software developers and software vendors need to provide feedback on their willingness and ability to comply with the RDF format. Standardizing bodies like HL7, SNOMED and ICD10 need to also comply with the RDF format. Incentives would also work well in encouraging the adoption and measuring the adoption rate of the RDF format.
Zaino, J. (2014, September 16). Semantic Interoperability: The Future of Healthcare Data. Retrieved from Dataversity Web Site: http://www.dataversity.net/semantic-interoperability-future-healthcare-data/