Viewpoint: Medical data interoperability is especially crucial in 4 areas

Though the analysis and exchange of digitized medical data have the power to drive major progress in healthcare, actual transformation will not happen until data silos have been thoroughly broken down.

In an article for npj Digital Medicine, data scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health's eHealth and Interoperability department outline the four areas of healthcare in which interoperability between data and IT systems is most important — and which have the greatest potential for transformative change.

Here are the four areas, and how each can benefit from increased interoperability:

1. Artificial intelligence and big data: When data is not siloed, algorithms can be trained using clear data structure and semantics and will therefore produce more valid results, resulting in increased confidence in advanced technologies.

2. Medical communication: Not only will interoperability make it easier to retrieve information from various sources, but it will also reduce errors caused by communication barriers, reduce documentation burden on clinicians and empower patients to own and understand their entire medical record.

3. Research: More interoperable data means it will be easier for researchers to import real-world data from multiple sources, then to mine and analyze that data to develop more complex hypotheses.

4. International cooperation: As data becomes more easily transferable between sources, organizations across states, nations and the globe will be better able to share technologies and to pool their resources to tackle public health issues and develop deeper understandings of rare diseases for precision health projects.

Read the full perspective article here.

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