Standards-based Interoperability of Systems-Use Cases

June 25th, 2021 | Viewpoint


On May 12, the USAID Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) Project hosted their third webinar in their technical leadership series titled, “Standards-based Interoperability of Systems: Country examples of testing and enabling the exchange of data for holistic health information management.” Derek Kunaka, HIS Director, CHISU Project, JSI, moderated the webinar with panelists: Nebyou Azanaw, Senior Health Information Systems Specialist, Ethiopia Data Use Partnership (DUP), JSI, Alvin Marcelo, Executive Director, Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN), Romain Tohouri, Health Management Information Systems Developer, CHISU, JSI, Chris Seebregts, Founder and CEO, CHISU, Jembi Health Systems (CHISU Partner). This panel shared examples of interoperability solutions, and the accompanying standards and processes, that have facilitated sharing and linking health data such as regional interoperability laboratories, multi-sectoral collaboration to track human and zoonotic diseases, cross-border immunization tracking, and facilitating the exchange of mobile messages between clients and institutions.

What is interoperability? CHISU defines interoperability as the ability of different information systems, devices, and applications (systems) to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner, within and across organizational, regional, and national boundaries, to provide timely and seamless portability of information and optimize the health of individuals and populations. Health data exchange architectures, application interfaces, and standards enable data to be accessed and shared appropriately and securely within all applicable settings and with relevant stakeholders. TechChange also released a great video about standards and interoperability in digital health.

Examples of strong use cases for standards-based interoperability throughout the world:
  • Netherlands have established NICTIZ which is the Dutch knowledge organization for digital information exchange in healthcare. They manage digital information exchange standards and collect and share knowledge on what is happening internationally.
  • South Africa has developed, and recently launched, an updated normative standards framework for health which is legislation that prescribes interoperability standards for patient information systems as well as conformity assessments to ascertain compliance with interoperability standards.
  • Asia has established a Standards & Interoperability Lab with a dedicated team of interoperability experts who provide technical and capacity-building support to countries in making their healthcare systems and applications interoperable.
  • Canada has established InfoCentral, an open, group-based community platform to accelerate clinical interoperability in Canada. Through this collaboration platform, a rich set of interoperability standards has been generated and made available for community use.

To hear more about the tools and experiences from our team of experts and partners, check out the CHISU YouTube Page

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