What is interoperability?

Interoperability sounds a bit complicated but is perhaps not as complicated as it sounds.

“Interoperability is the ability of different information systems, devices or applications to connect, in a coordinated manner, within and across organizational boundaries to access, exchange and cooperatively use data amongst stakeholders, with the goal of optimizing the health of individuals and populations.” This is the latest definition developed by HIMSS, a global not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information and technology.

In short, interoperability is the ability of different information systems to connect to access, exchange and use patient data to optimize the health of individuals. That does not sound so difficult. And if you take away the health aspect of this sentence, interoperability is exactly what happens when you either use your credit card in a given store or call someone with your mobile phone.

Without having to know anything about what supplier or solution the store have, or your recipient of your call have, the money transaction goes through and your call works without problem. But when it comes to your health data this seamless accessibility of your data is not given. On the contrary, to be given your patient data in a printed format to bring to the next care giver is not unusual. Ask anyone pregnant or with a chronic disease, chances are their folder of journals and medical documentation is not far away.

The reason for this is that within the healthcare sector interoperability is not a given – yet!

This is why Nordic Interoperability Project wants to do something about this.

Join in, get involved, share your ideas – and let us make this happen!

Read more about HIMMS definition of interoperability here: