Interoperability the key to making eHealth work
Potential cost-savings from eHealth are being jeopardised because computer systems cannot talk to one another, according to experts from the public and private sectors at a meeting in Brussels in September organised by Microsoft.
Hospital departments often use custom-made software in their radiology departments which cannot communicate with the programme used by the hospital’s emergency or surgical departments, for example.
Ilia Fortunov, technology strategist at Microsoft, said the IT industry had “learned the hard way” that interoperability must be built into eHealth products from the outset.
He said a new ethos was emerging in industry, even between competing players, which would see a greater deal of cooperation in the interests of avoiding the paralysis that can result from creating incompatible systems.
“It’s no longer a case of ‘my stuff’ and ‘your stuff’ but rather we are talking about ‘our stuff’ – new products have to work together for the benefit of all,” Fortunov said.