Interoperability & Health Information Exchange

HIMSS is continually working to provide crucial tools for the advancement of semantic interoperability and standards-based health information and technology systems that lead to meaningful health information exchange. Through our active volunteer groups, which fall under the Interoperability & Health Information Exchange Committee, we are engaging industry leaders year-round to develop the tools and resources you need! 

We invite you to discover our resource library comprised of resources created by our volunteer groups that work to further better health through information and technology advocacy and education on the topics of standards-based interoperability and health information exchange.

Interoperability describes the extent to which systems and devices can exchange data, and interpret that shared data. For two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that a user can understand it.  In order to ensure interoperability, the use of standards enable data to be shared across disparate healthcare settings regardless of the application or vendor.

Health information exchange [HIE] - both the noun and the verb - is a dynamic and evolving landscape. HIE is critical for successful healthcare reform, enabling interoperability and meaningful use of health information and technology, and HIMSS is here to help healthcare and health information and technology professionals understand all of the latest developments.

Through our active volunteer groups, such as our Interoperability & HIE Community and the Interoperability & HIE Committee, we are engaging industry leaders year-round to develop the tools and resources you need!

Interoperability Leading to Health Information Exchange

In its advocacy and education, HIMSS emphasizes the importance of achieving interoperability leading to secure electronic exchange of health information. This goal is essential to enabling all individuals, their loved ones, and their health care providers to have appropriate access to health information that facilitates informed decision-making, supports achieve coordinated health management, allows patients to be active partners in their health and care, and improves the overall health of our population.

Interoperability in American History

Healthcare is not the first industry that has faced the imperative for interoperable systems. American railroads were initially built to serve specific cities and their surrounding areas, with little thought to eventually connecting one to another. By the 1870s there were more than 20 different railroad gauges used across the country, making it impossible for trains to move from one area to the next. It wasn't until a common standard was established, and all railroad systems adapted to match this standard, that cross-continental travel and shipping could be achieved. 

In much the same way, the world has seen rapid growth in the sharing of electronic health information within individual health systems and organizations in recent years, but the standards used by one system cannot translate information to or from those used by other systems. Until a common set of standards is accepted and implemented across all healthcare settings, electronic health information cannot cross from one system to the next.

This resource library arms you with timely and relevant resources to further education and advocacy for standards-based interoperability and health information exchange. See below for some tools you will find within this library.

HIMSS Interoperability Call to Action & Interoperability Initiatives Environmental Scan

HIMSS asserts that we must achieve secure, appropriate, and ubiquitous data access and electronic exchange of health information, and provides guiding principles to inform health policy and spur our nation’s health sector to action.

The Call to Action was championed by HIMSS's Interoperability & HIE Committee and informed by their work to create the Interoperability Initiatives Environmental Scan.

Access the Full Interoperability Initiatives Environmental Scan

Read the entire Call to Action here

Interoperability Toolkit

The Interoperability Toolkit will help you better navigate through the various existing and emerging standards and standards development organizations (SDOs) and guide you to the tools and resources needed to deploy interoperable healthcare information and technology systems. It is also intended to highlight the thought leadership of volunteers working together to analyze the foundations of interoperability.

Health Story Project

The Health Story Project is dedicated to a comprehensive electronic record containing a patient’s complete health story that can be shared to improve care through collaboration and analysis. View their past Roundtables and resources for education on how standards such as C-CDA help further the patient’s story and benefits stakeholders from across the healthcare system.

Health Information Exchange

HIMSS gives you the tools you need to understand health information exchange in all healthcare settings, and ongoing efforts to realize a fully integrated healthcare system. The Health Information Exchange (HIE) Toolkit and Public Health and HIE Toolkit provide comprehensive fact sheets, analyses, checklists, white papers and other resources to help guide and inform professionals involved with HIE at all levels.

You may also be interested in checking out the HIMSS Privacy and Security Toolkit.

Get involved with the Interoperability & HIE Committee, Community, Task Forces and Work Groups!

Interoperability & Health Information Exchange Committee

The Interoperability & Health Information Exchange (HIE) Committee seeks to further advance the HIMSS strategic topic of semantic interoperability and standardization leading to successful health-related data exchange and re-use of health information.

Interoperability & Health Information Exchange Community

Our community serves as the central convening point for interoperability and health information exchange (HIE) professionals to promote meaningful education and thought leadership in the health information and technology industry. We connect professionals committed to transforming health through standards-based interoperability and HIE, with opportunities for networking with peers, sharing ideas, learning best practices, and leveraging collaborative opportunities. As of 2019, the Community has integrated the Health Story Project into the Interoperability & HIE Community roundtable series. 

Blockchain in Healthcare Task Force

Volunteers on this HIMSS Task Force will explore and educate the healthcare community on the practical applications of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies within the healthcare setting. Members of this group are tasked with (1) highlighting real-word examples of the technology’s use, (2) creating resources to better understand the technology and considerations for implementation and (3) sharing subject matter expertise on the various use cases to which the technology can be applied.

The Technical Guidance for Interoperability Work Group

The Technical Guidance for Interoperability (TGI) Work Group’ will facilitate communication and collaboration on interoperability and standards-based technology within HIMSS and with other federal, state, local and business organizations to present a coordinated voice on how to achieve the industry’s interoperability vision. This Work Group will share technical perspectives and provide guidance on behalf of HIMSS to drive policy and regulation recommendations related to interoperability, standards and health information exchange.


To learn more about HIMSS Interoperability, Standards & HIE activities, please contact us.

HIMSS leads and contributes to many efforts that touch on the topics of Interoperability and Health Information Exchange. Below is a list of the many initiatives occurring within HIMSS.

Interoperability Showcase™

The Interoperability Showcase™ exhibit provides a full landscape of health information and technology solutions and live demonstrations of interoperability. Educational opportunities at the Showcase connect thousands of health information and technology buyers and end-users to answer your most complex health information and technology questions. Visit the Showcase at our next HIMSS conference and review some whitepapers from participating sponsors.

Immunization Integration Program

The Immunization Integration Program (IIP), a collaborative effort between Chickasaw Nation Industries, Inc. (CNI), HIMSS and Drummond Group, takes immunization workflow mainstream, streamlining and improving overall vaccine administration and management process.

Personal Connected Health Alliance

The Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance), a non-profit organization formed by HIMSS, believes that health is personal and extends beyond healthcare. The PCHAlliance mobilizes a coalition of stakeholders to realize the full potential of personal connected health. They also publish and promote the global adoption of the Continua Design Guidelines, an open framework for user-friendly, interoperable health data exchange in personal connected health. The Continua Design Guidelines are recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations, as the international standard for safe, secure, and reliable exchange of data to and from personal health devices.