Special Topic Interoperability and EHR: Combining openEHR, SNOMED, IHE, and Continua as approaches to interoperability on national eHealth

Journal: Applied Clinical Informatics
ISSN: 1869-0327
Issue: Vol. 8: Issue 3 2017
Pages: 810-825
Ahead of Print: 2017-08-09

Special Topic Interoperability and EHR: Combining openEHR, SNOMED, IHE, and Continua as approaches to interoperability on national eHealth

Special Topic: Interoperability and EHR

M. Beštek (1, 2), D. Stanimirović (1)

(1) National Institute of Public Health, Ljubljana, Slovenia; (2) IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Telemedicine, knowledge management, Electronic health records, health information exchange, common data elements


Objectives: The main aims of the paper comprise the characterization and examination of the potential approaches regarding interoperability. This includes openEHR, SNOMED, IHE, and Continua as combined interoperability approaches, possibilities for their incorporation into the eHealth environment, and identification of the main success factors in the field, which are necessary for achieving required interoperability, and consequently, for the successful implementation of eHealth projects in general. Methods: The paper represents an in-depth analysis regarding the potential application of openEHR, SNOMED, IHE and Continua approaches in the development and implementation process of eHealth in Slovenia. The research method used is both exploratory and deductive in nature. The methodological framework is grounded on information retrieval with a special focus on research and charting of existing experience in the field, and sources, both electronic and written, which include interoperability concepts and related implementation issues. Results: The paper will try to answer the following inquiries that are complementing each other: 1. Scrutiny of the potential approaches, which could alleviate the pertinent interoperability issues in the Slovenian eHealth context. 2. Analyzing the possibilities (requirements) for their inclusion in the construction process for individual eHealth solutions. 3. Identification and charting the main success factors in the interoperability field that critically influence development and implementation of eHealth projects in an efficient manner. Conclusions: Provided insights and identified success factors could serve as a constituent of the strategic starting points for continuous integration of interoperability principles into the healthcare domain. Moreover, the general implementation of the identified success factors could facilitate better penetration of ICT into the healthcare environment and enable the eHealth-based transformation of the health system especially in the countries which are still in an early phase of eHealth planning and development and are often confronted with differing interests, requirements, and contending strategies.

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