Stored on the servers of medical centers all over the world is an immense amount of patient data. These contain written and photographic health data of great importance.

Doctor’s records, imaging, treatment recommendations, etc., all must be stored. This could be for reasons relating to diagnosis, treatment, and legal compliance.

The only way to store this amount of crucial data is through the use of information technology (IT).

The nature of such information leads to the importance of having high data standards in healthcare.

How important is the interoperability of the technology containing such vital information? 

It’s this topic that’s discussed in this article.

Where Do Data Standards in Healthcare Come From?

Technology never stops evolving. This is a fact we all know by thinking about the different phones we’ve had in our pockets over the years. So too are malicious individuals and organizations looking to exploit critical personal information.

These facts mean the standards protecting such information must also evolve. It’s also key that technology in the healthcare sector can communicate such data.

But who is it that governs the evolution of data standards in healthcare?

Organizations, known as Standards Development Organizations, set these for different industries. They define, maintain, and, when needed, update these standards.

In the information technology sector of healthcare in the United States, the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) organization sets these.

Seamless Information Sharing Can Be Vital

In the healthcare sector, there is a vast vocabulary of specific technical terms. Correct diagnosis and treatment depend on the proper identification of such health data.

How can one IT system accurately communicate this information to another? How can it do so while maintaining security and without a clash in data formatting or code reading?

This is the challenge of interoperability confronted with proper data standards.

These standards set conventions which determine interoperability methods between health IT systems. This means to achieve three primary key goals:

  1. One system must be able to acknowledge data receipt from another.
  2. When data moves from one system to another, its meaning and purpose must stay the same.
  3. A receiving system must be able to interpret data coding and structure from the exporting system.

The importance of a medical center accessing accurate information is clear. Wrongful diagnosis, prescription, or recommended treatment could be a life-and-death matter.

This site further simplifies the need for seamless data sharing through different technologies.

Standards Are for a Protection

In all areas of life, we have standards that may limit in some ways, yet are for our ultimate protection. 

A prime example of this is traffic laws. They may limit how fast, where, and how we drive. Yet few, if any, would disagree that these limits are for protection.

The data standards in healthcare are no exception. These protect both the medical and financial data within the healthcare sector. They also ensure comprehensive data sharing to all parties who need it.

For further discussions on the evolution and safety of IT systems and many more tech related reads, check out our tech blog.

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