Standards can be found in almost every area of our daily lives, but why do we need them in healthcare information technology?
The healthcare delivery system today employs many different information systems from different vendors, both within a single organization and across multiple organizations. For example, a hospital may have a laboratory system from one vendor, a pharmacy system from another vendor, and a patient care documentation system from a third vendor. Physicians affiliated with the hospital also have different systems in their offices, yet need access to data from the hospital on their patients.*
In healthcare, standards provide a common language and set of expectations that enable interoperability between systems and/or devices. Ideally, data exchange schema and standards should permit data to be shared between clinician, lab, hospital, pharmacy, and patient regardless of application or application vendor in order to improve healthcare delivery.
Examples of standards in healthcare informatics include:
- Data exchange and system standards
- Pharmacy and terminology standards
- Medical device standards
- Public health reporting standards