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Ana Castilho

Interoperability Infographic | iUZ Blog

(Check our new infographic below)


We have been talking a lot about health interoperability lately, but what this mean exactly?

Well, have you watch Marcelo Fonseca iUZ.Talk back in July?


Back then, Marcelo explained iUZ point-of-view in the health interoperability field, and has referred important related aspects during his pitch. We have recorded it and you can still view it in our Youtube Channel.



Health Interoperability definition


According with HIMSS – Health Information and Management System Society, health interoperability is:

(…) the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged.

Data exchange schema and standards should permit data to be shared across clinicians, lab, hospital, pharmacy, and patient regardless of the application or application vendor. Health interoperability means the ability of information systems to work together within and across organisational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.

There are three levels of health information technology interoperability:

  1. Foundational (allows data exchange from one information technology system to be received by another)
  2. Structural (an intermediate level that defines the structure or format of data exchange)
  3. Semantic (provides interoperability at the highest level, which is the ability of two or more systems or elements to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. Takes advantage of both the structuring of the data exchange and the codification of the data including vocabulary so that the receiving information technology systems can interpret the data)

(Source: HIMSS – Definition of Interoperability)



Cross-Border Interoperability and Challenges in the Interoperability field


At iUZ we have committed a lot of our time to cross-border interoperability in the healthcare field (check our epSOS case study (new) page), as cross-border interoperability “aiming to provide tools and common ways to exchange information between countries” (Source: Slideshare). According with epSOS, cross-border interoperability also means interoperability between neighbouring and non-neighbouring epSOS Member States and their entire territories.
In Marcelo pitch, he spoke about a few challenges in the interoperability field, being:

Legal and organisational interoperability challenges, such as:

  • Implementation of legal common grounds for information exchange
  • Establishment of circles of trust
  • Legal recognition of involved parties, such as HCPs (including their roles), patients and others
  • Set in place common authentication mechanisms (e.g. European e-Identification projects)
  • Etc.

interoperability challenges, such as:

  • Represent as much as possible the information using clinical code-systems
  • Define common and agreed value sets for information exchange (e.g. health sets of terminologies)
  • Establish formal mappings of existent information to the agreed value sets
  • Include the translations to allow multi-language capabilities (for cross-country scenarios)
  • Etc.

interoperability challenges, such as:

  • Implement common interfaces for services
  • Establish agreed format for information exchange
  • Prove and certify the compliance level of the involved systems
  • Define roadmaps for information integration
  • Etc.



Interoperability Benefits


Regarding the benefits for having information systems connected through cross-border health interoperability, are:

  • For citizens and patients:
    • Receive health care abroad (almost) seamlessly;
    • Receive medication in a foreign country on existing prescription;
    • Access to his own information in multiple languages and recognised formats;
  • For Health care providers:
    • Get quick and easy access to key patient data;
    • Improve health care cooperation across borders;
  • Health care quality:
    • Reduce medication errors by exchanging data;
    • Facilitate the occasional care of foreign patients


The answers to these issues are in these organisms:

  • IHE – Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise
  • HL7 – Health Level Seven International
  • DICOM – Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine





We’ve already written about IHE, when we joined IHE international as a member organization and when we went to Connectathon 2014 in Vienna (Austria). IHE – Integrating Healthcare Enterprise, is an initiative by healthcare professionals and industry leaders that aims to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information.

According with IHE, they intend to promote the coordinated use of established standards such as DICOM and HL7 to address specific clinical needs in support of optimal patient care. Systems developed in accordance with IHE communicate with one another better, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively. (Source: IHE)



Health Level Seven International (HL7) is a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited standards developing organization. HL7 provides standards for interoperability that improve care delivery, optimize workflow, reduce ambiguity and enhance knowledge transfer among all stakeholders.

HL7 is dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information.



Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) “is a standard for handling, storing, printing, and transmitting information in medical imaging.” (Source: Wikipedia)



See our new brand infographic about “What is Health Interoperability?”:


Click in the image to view full-size or see it on Slideshare. Don´t forget to share it.




There are much more to say about health interoperability. Share with us your thoughts, below in the comments.

Opening the Future of Healthcare.
Contact iUZ today at +351 234 247 381 or visit iuz.pt

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Ana Castilho

Health Conference at Aqualuz Resort & Conference Hotel.

Do you feel that there is much to talk about interoperability in healthcare, but you don’t really find opportunities to speak with experts about it?

HCist is for you!

The third edition of the HCist – International Conference of Health and Social Care Information Systems Technologies will occur in Tróia (Portugal), between the 15th and 17th of October at the lovely Aqualuz Resort & Conference Hotel.

ICT solutions are being tailored for specific service providers, which according with the HCist organization committee, reinforces the demand that Europe has to reduce market fragmentation, mainly to reduce the lack of a common EU interoperability, testing and certification framework.

HCist is aligned with the Digital Agenda for Europe and expects to leverage the eHealth Technical Interoperability discussions in Portugal with debates and workshops, establishing a “shared vision and architectural building block to approach the EU top priority use cases, building upon worldwide technical profiles and standards” (Source: HCist press release).


A workshop about interoperability

iUZ CEO as been invited to talk about our expertise in the interoperability field, mainly centred in the Portuguese integration with epSOS network, and the knowledge acquired with IHE Profiles adoption and implementation.
By the way, did you read our last post about us joining IHE?
The conference will also discuss about:

• Healthcare Interoperability
• HIE – Health Information Exchange Solutions
• Healthcare Information Systems
• HL7 Standards
• EHR – Electronic Health Records
• mHealth – Mobile Device Software for Healthcare
• etc.

During HCist, also will be held in the same place the ProjMAN 2014 (International Conference on Project Management) and CENTERIS 2014 (Conference on Enterprise Information Systems). These three conferences are organised by SciKA that aims to promote and disseminate scientific knowledge.

Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments.

(images from HCist website)

Opening the Future of Healthcare.
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Ana Castilho

Electronic Health Records | Stethoscope


 “Why Data Science Holds Great Promise for Health Care?”

This is an interesting infographic that we found and wanted to share with you. Visualize it below.


Electronic Health Records

Datascience@berkeley created this infographic that only has U.S. data, but is fulfilled with important information regarding EHR’s – Electronic Health Records, a real time tool with patient centred records that is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart.

According with the information in the infographic, the electronic health record is a decision making tool “that ‘learns’ from patient histories to identify health status and probable outcomes.” Ilias Tagkopoulos, UC Davis.

Take a look, and tell us your thoughts in the comments about the infographic or Electronic Health Records in general.

(click in the image to view full size)
Electronic Health Records | infographic - Data Science_small


Opening the Future of Healthcare.
Contact iUZ today at +351 234 247 381 or visit iuz.pt

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Ana Castilho

Health in Public Administration | Society


Do you know the APDSI  association?

APDSI is an Portuguese Association for the Information Society Promotion and Development, created in 2001.

Main objective?
To contribute for Portugal growth and to conduct a top of the line country regarding worldwide development of the Information and Knowledge Society, facilitating citizens opportunities to benefit from the information society.


iUZ  –  an institutional Member

In February, iUZ decided to be an institutional member of APDSI, believing that we can also can help the Portuguese society with our expertise and human capital.

APDSI performs some activities, such as conferences or workshops, regarding Health, Education, Security, Justice, Electronic Businesses, Geographic Information, Society and Public Administration fields.


“Electronic Public Administration – What needs to be done?”

Last June 4th took place in Lisbon the “Electronic Public Administration – What needs to be done?” conference, where Professor Henrique Martins, CEO of SPMS – Portuguese Ministry of Health, Shared Services talked about Health in Public Administration and how Health in Portugal is fitting in these context.

During Henrique Martins speech, he mentioned epSOS and PNPSO-SISO, two projects where iUZ was involved as SPMS technical partner, regarding the Health in Public Administration issues, as well as:

  • Time consumption and several challenges that usually occur in an eHealth Information System
  • Difficulties during the creation of any IS with the Portuguese Data Protection Authority
  • Evolution process
  • eHealth Information Systems at an European level (e.g. epSOS)

You can watch Henrique Martins talk and visualize his presentation document (in Portuguese) about his point of view about the Health in Public Administration.

Have something to add? Share it in the comments.

(Image: Dima Bushkov)

Opening the Future of Healthcare.
Contact iUZ today at +351 234 247 381 or visit iuz.pt

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Ana Castilho

IHE-Europe Interoperability

Last Friday, 11th July our CEO Isabel Cruz and Ivo Pinheiro were at the First Meeting in Portugal for “Technical Interoperability in Information Systems for Health”, associated with the IHE-Europe. The event was organised by SPMS and took place in Faculdade de Engenharia do Porto.

During the event was referred the IHE role and several national framework case studies. IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) through their specifications connects clinical institutions, IT industries and users in order to raise healthcare interoperability, among organizations.

Interoperability Director at IHE-Europe, Karima Bourquard spooked about IHE-Europe, such as, IHE Profiles; Case Studies; How to create an IHE National Chapter and the Connectathon events as we’ve write to you in this post.

Have you been to this event?

By the way, check this video to know a bit further about IHE-Europe:

Please, share your thoughts, below in the comments.


(image: IHE-Europe)

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