Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Interoperability Alphabet Soup

The eHealth interoperability showcase is planned for May 29-30 in Toronto. In preparation for this vendors of healthcare software come together to demonstrate how interoperability is achieved. The sessions are informative and very useful, but at times incomprehensible as acronyms fly about.
We have EMR, EHR, PHR, PHP, HIAL, DICOM LIS, DIS, HIS, XDS; have I missed any? Words have meaning, the issue I have with excessive use of acronyms is that meaning is too often lost. Someone with a product will tag it with an acronym that doesn't apply. Who confirms that the label matches the acronym?
Our products are patient assessment tools, not EHRs nor EMRS; because these have significant definitions and connotations. We are not a CRM or ERP.
Our Clarity Health Journal is not a PHP or PHR it is a consumer health application. Other folks have created a category of consumer health platform. Can you identify a platform from an application? I run a web app using google chrome, does this make chrome a platform? no it is a browser. When we use semantics and jargon to describe something we distance our self. Only similar initiates can understand us, or in reality believe that they understand us.
Interoperability is all about systems communicating with one another seamlessly. Software that can share information from multiple sources. Data exchanged between pieces of the health care environment, a hospital record with doctors' office charts. The radiologist seeing the information from different sources, labs, drugs and imaging, perhaps over long distances, from technology sources that are unknown to them. All this is to improve patient outcomes, don't you think we should make the interoperability showcase understandable to users? not just the techies working in the code?

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