Interoperability means exchange of information among computerised systems. Banking sector has successfully implemented such interoperability benefiting the stakeholders.
In terms of healthcare it means passing information from outpatient department to the attached pharmacy or from discharge desk to primary care physician or from one hospital to another. If such information exchange is person dependent, presumptive and erroneous the resulting actions will directly affect the health of the patient.
The world over healthcare sector has started implementing interoperability. The fact that GoI has been promoting medical tourism and some of the hospitals have been witnessing its benefits. Soon these foreign nationals will expect local hospitals to handle connect and / or import their electronic medical records (EMRs) either by connecting to their home hospital/PCP or by importing electronic data that they carry.
Interoperability support i.e. ability of hospitals to share / exchange near real-time EMRs with patient’s PCP/homecare shall create a perception about their reliability and transparency about medical decisions. For this to succeed a common communication language which can be understood by the systems involved need to be established. Also the level of interoperability will decide how the receiving system will act on the data.
The interoperability solution can be plugged into the existing hospital management system without altering it thereby acting like a black box.
The GoI’s National Health Program has initiated Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) which is a step towards connecting various healthcare entities.