Data interoperability, key for Health 4.0

Alex Ruiz
25 de February de 2022 · 6 min de lectura

The new era of technology has brought important changes regarding medical attention and information has become a key component in placing users at the center of decision making. What is data interoperability in the Health industry and how does it benefit users?

In recent years there’s been a noticeable increase in coordinated work between health agencies, insurance companies and tech companies in an effort to offer new solutions that adapt to user needs.


The Data spotlight

Achieving data interoperability is vital for exchanging information between different health systems in order to provide relevant and simple experiences that make patients’ lives easier.

In addition, this has great benefits. For example:

  • Data unification

In the past, health systems functioned as an isolated unit, making communication and interaction between the different involved parts difficult. Now, thanks to the use of unique systems, all information has become available to all parties, making  relationships between doctors, patients, insurance companies and the industry more efficient. 

  • Increase medical care

Achieving access and availability of data in real time, patients can follow their treatments from different spaces, improving the quality and continuation of treatments.

  • Create fit to size treatments

Counting on a huge quantity of data, therapies (and even medicine) can be created to fit the specific needs of each patient. 

  • Encourage innovation 

The medical industry strengthens its whole chain of value, from production and distribution, to marketing, creating new solutions.

  • Empower patients 

Patients will now have much more information regarding their medical condition, enabling them to have a greater degree of control over their treatment.

To measure the importance of the digital health market it is noteworthy that it’s projected to reach 500 million USD in 2025 at a global level, according to Statista. On this same path, it’s anticipated that the technology segment of health information is generating the majority of the revenue, with 280 million USD at the close of 2021


The advancement of Data Interoperability

In recent years, especially in Europe and the United States, different interoperability plans have been developed. 

In Europe, the infrastructure of Digital Services of eHealth/Digital Health (eHDSI) aims to guarantee the care of European citizens inside all countries of the Union. 

This project looks for the exchange of interoperable health information from two transfrontier health services: ePrescription and eDispensation, to have access to medicine through an electronic prescription; and clinic history, that contemplates important health information, like medication, disease surgeries, etc. The eHDSI is aiming to make these services available to 25 EU countries approaching 2025

Going forwards individually, Spain has worked on data interoperability models since 2003 and has accomplished the development of: 

  • Health card services, in which each citizen has an assigned Personal Identification Code unique to the Spanish National Health System (SNS). 
  • Digital clinic history, the first case of clinical information interoperability at a national level, enabling citizens to consult their information from any part of the health system that forms part of the project.
  • Electronic prescription, thus allowing any prescription to be dispensed by any pharmacy in the country with no importance to where it’s been prescribed. 

Regarding legal aspects, the country mounts it’s actions inside the initiative of the Action Plan for eHealth in Europe “to develop interoperability systems that encourage networking between organizations, widen the range of accessibility to information and enable the future exchange of information inside the European Union”. 

In the United States, the “CMS interoperability & patient Access Final Rule”, reliant on the Health Department and Human Services, aims to promote patient interoperability and access to their medical information on a federal level. This “final rule” is the first phase of the policies focused on the advancement of interoperability and patient access to health information. 

In Latin America, if there is intent to implement unified regional Electronic Medical Record(EMR) projects, the degree of progress is scarce. Some countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina are working on the digitalization of their own health systems —including data interoperability, according to case— independent from each other. 


How to promote data interoperability?

There is no miracle antidote, that said the right approach would involve the following three steps: 

1. Encourage the collaboration of all participants

Doctors, health centers, laboratories, governments and technology companies have to cooperate. Generating debate spaces and idea sharing that propitiates collaboration is fundamental to achieving this.  

2. Adding tech companies to the decision board

These companies can contribute their knowledge to create end to end solutions that allow the compilation of data and it’s availability for the different participants involved. 

3. Involve patients in the transformation process

Them being the main beneficiaries of data interoperability, the industry has to get to know them and make them part of the projects from the start. 


At Multiplica we have experience in the Health industry, working with companies such as Gebro, Grifols, Almirall, Novartis, Lilly and Amgen, amongst others. Because of this, and to find out more we can help you on the journey of transformation, we invite you to contact Alex Ruiz, Health Industry Global Head at Multiplica.

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