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What Are The Challenges In Making Electronic Data Interoperable?

What Are The Challenges In Making Electronic Data Interoperable?
What Are The Challenges In Making Electronic Data Interoperable?

>> What Are The Challenges In Making Electronic Data Interoperable?

One of the primary requirements for healthcare interoperability is to make electronic healthcare data easily operable. Interoperability is the seamless exchange or communication of electronic data between two electronic systems. When this is applied to healthcare, and we deal with healthcare systems, it is known as healthcare interoperability. The primary data recorded electronically is healthcare data that is often communicated between healthcare systems and providers.

Levels of Data Interoperability

There are three basic levels of implementing data interoperability in the healthcare sector. The three levels are as follows:

Foundational Level

The foundation level of interoperability is when one EHR system receives data from another without being able to interpret it. This is the most basic level of data exchange between two healthcare systems.

Structural Level

The second level, the structural level, ensures that data can be exchanged between two systems and interpreted at a data field level. On this level, systems define the syntax of messages and data exchange.

Semantic Level

The semantic level is the highest level of data interoperability possible between two systems. At this level, both systems can exchange data with each other, which can be put to use.

Challenges in Making Electronic Data Interoperable

According to Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), healthcare data interoperability should allow electronic data exchange between different healthcare systems regardless of the applications or vendors. To achieve this, there are particular challenges and considerations that make it different to increase the interoperability of electronic data. Some of these challenges are:

Reduces efficiency of people entering the data

Turning electronic data into manual data can be a painstaking task that often reduces the efficiency of people working in healthcare systems. Doctors still use pages to record data and keep notes in many clinics and areas.

Turning these into electronic data doubles the effort or requires hiring new staff to do the job. This seems rather unattractive to many healthcare providers.

Data needs to be readable across various systems

Data has to be readable across systems for it to be appropriately interoperable. Although this is still manageable for the EHRs compiled in hospitals and other places, it gets complicated when telehealth services come into the picture. When patients share images or show videos via health apps to one doctor, that data should be converted into a readable format to be shared with others via the messaging channels.

Different formats of data need to be standardized

For data to be effectively interoperable, it has to be standardized. Sometimes medical files include different types of data shared in various formats, from pdfs reports to jpeg images and much more. Sharing data in different formats often causes systems receiving it to open it in different applications. This makes it harder to read the data and understand it comprehensively. This aspect of interoperability needs to be developed.

Not all medical service providers are tech-literate

The last and probably most crucial challenge to making electronic data interoperable is that not many medical service providers are tech-savvy or computer literate enough to make this work. They need proper training as to how this electronic data needs to be stored and shared to make the most of interoperability.

The Main Takeaway

Although interoperability is making progress in leaps in the healthcare system, there are still many challenges when it comes to making electronic data interoperable. With proper training and a rigid structure for all service providers to follow, these challenges can be resolved in the near future.


DevScripts Solutions is an IT Consultant Firm Specializing in Interoperability within the Healthcare Arena.

We are a small team solving big interoperability challenges on a daily basis. With our vast knowledge of interoperability we can integrate ourselves as part of your organization just like we are part of your full-time team. We develop a variety of custom interfaces for healthcare organizations such as Healthcare Vendors, HIEs, Health Systems, Hospitals, Medical Practices, Payors and ACOs using Mirth Connect.

We work with businesses in California, Georgia, New York, Florida, Texas and throughout the wider United States.

For more information on our services or to arrange a consultation call please contact us today.

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