interoperability

Digital health has the potential to make healthcare better for patients and for healthcare professionals, as well as to accelerate the shift towards more efficient and cost-effective ways of delivering care. It promises to make healthcare better, safer, and more centred on the patient. Yet, despite this great potential, the people I speak to – including policymakers, experts, payers, patients, healthcare professionals and of course our member companies – have a shared sense that progress is too slow. There is a growing frustration that, in some instances, we have technologies that can solve pressing problems, but we are not putting them to use. So, what’s holding us back? One of the answers I hear most often is the lack of interoperability – the capacity of information systems, devices or applications from different vendors to connect and send or receive data. In a recent MedTech Europe member survey on digital, our members identified the lack of 'common standards for interoperability and connectivity' the single most important issue to address. Interoperability in practice would mean that digital health technologies could ‘talk to’ one another; they would securely share data in ways that optimise the health of patients and populations, and make care more efficient. They would, for example, enable patients with chronic conditions to send their data to their general practitioner (GP), rather than having to go to the doctor’s office; or hospitals and GPs to access the same health record to coordinate care for a given patient; or health systems to aggregate data from different sources to derive insights and enable research. Sadly, often technologies and systems cannot connect and share data. For example, hospital staff might not be able to access information held by their patient’s GP. Two hospitals cannot exchange medical records because they run on different IT systems...