An Introduction to Interoperability in Healthcare

An Introduction to Interoperability in Healthcare on

And the 4 Keys to Successful Information Sharing

We live in a world where online communication is essential to our daily lives, from the small things to the ones that affect survival. As we have evolved as a society, how we share information has evolved with us. We now expect immediate answers to all of our questions. And in the healthcare industry, receiving information minutes earlier could save a person’s life, so it’s crucial that a system is in place to rapidly exchange data. Enter interoperability.

Interoperability is the ability of software applications and IT systems to share data, as well as effectively use the information exchanged. In layman’s terms, it’s the ability of systems to communicate — meaning a doctor has instant access to the information a patient gave to a doctor in another state. This can make a huge difference in providing needed care.

So what are the keys to success when it comes to interoperability in healthcare?


This one is pretty obvious, but there is no point in sharing information if it isn’t accurate. The last thing you want is for your doctor to have incorrect information that could lower the standard of care — or worse. Successful interoperability keeps a focus on making sure that the right information is shared.


We want answers quickly, and interoperability allows us to access them immediately, even while on the go. Have you ever been asked a medical question that you’re not sure of the answer to, only to realize that 30 minutes on the phone with your other doctor didn’t clear things up? Imagine how easy it would be if patients never had to fill out another form, and new providers had instant access to complex medical histories. Successful interoperability meets these needs with instantaneous information sharing.


Consistency is crucial for good medical care, and it’s especially important for effective interoperability. If information is going to be shared, there needs to be a stable system in which it’s gathered and distributed. From the reliability of the technology to the format of the information, data needs to be consistently available and easily understood, so whoever is receiving it can make the best possible decision.


Security is a rightfully a huge concern in the healthcare industry. Providers go to extraordinary lengths to protect patient privacy and comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). And patients don’t want anyone except the doctor of their choice accessing medical records. Thus, the communicating systems must be secure and the data thoroughly encrypted.

These four factors are crucial when it comes to successful interoperability in healthcare. Without any one of them, the costs of an information sharing system outweighs the benefits. Electronic sharing is changing modern medicine, eliminating the need for mailed records, reading sloppy handwriting, and communicating complex issues through confused patients. All the information can be online and at your fingertips.

Want to learn more? Contact POM MRI and Imaging Centers today to find out how interoperability in healthcare is changing MRIs.

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