HIMSS has crafted a new definition for interoperability and is seeking public feedback on it. Let’s see the contents.
The new definition stems from HIMSS’s aspiration to describe and achieve global interoperability from an international perspective.
The definition is worded as follows: “Interoperability is the ability of different information systems, devices or applications to connect, in a coordinated way, within and beyond organizational boundaries to access, exchange and use data in a cooperative way between stakeholders, with the aim of optimizing the health of individuals and populations”.
The definition foresees four levels of interoperability: foundational, structural, semantic and organisational. Here are the details of each level:
- Foundational interoperability develops the building blocks of information exchange between disparate systems by establishing the inter-connectivity requirements needed for one system or application to share data with and receive data from another.
- Structural interoperability defines the structure or format of data exchange (syntax) ensuring that data exchanges between information technology systems can be interpreted at the data field level
- Semantic interoperability is the ability of two or more systems to exchange information and interpret and use it, and it is based on both the structuring of data exchange and coding.
- Organizational interoperability encompasses the technical components as well as clear policy, social and organizational components. These components facilitate the secure, seamless and timely communication and use of data within and between organizations and individuals.
Organizational interoperability should then include policies, rules and process definitions that are then implemented using the available functions.