Why We Need Standards-Based Interoperability In Digital Health

Bill Ash and Kathryn Bennett | MEDCITY News | October 15, 2014

A vision for “e-health” is gathering around the world, in which a rich array of dependable data is seamlessly and securely shared between patient and healthcare providers, in support of breakthrough wellness care and remote monitoring capabilities. Global, open development and wide-scale adoption of interoperability standards across technology areas such as personal health device communications, cloud computing, body computing, mobility, social networking and Big Data analytics comprise a critical enabler of the vision.

In the emerging standards-based environment for e-health, caregivers are being enabled to continually maintain a comprehensive assessment of a person’s status as it evolves in making and carrying out clinical decisions. A secure stream of accurate biometric data (beat-by-beat blood-pressure monitoring, for example) would allow physicians to steadily monitor a patient’s condition in real time—wherever that individual happens to be, moment to moment as he or she goes about a daily routine.

This is a significant change from the traditional scenario in which clinical decisions are informed by a limited set of vital signs and other data that can be collected during the patient’s short visits to hospitals, doctor offices, etc. A standards-based environment of e-health promises monumental benefits in terms of improved quality of care, including:

  • Expanded access to medical records and biometric data for better-informed decision making
  • Streamlined conversion of raw patient data into actionable insights
  • Reduction in risks of medical errors, misdiagnosis and mistreatments...