Future of Interoperability in Healthcare

Future of Interoperability in Healthcare

by Leo Petersen-Khmelnitski

The text below identifies future impacts of interoperability on major healthcare stakeholders, touches on future standards in health data, discussed liberation of health data, and wider than now AI adoption in management of health data.


We assume that further digitalisation in healthcare is likely:

  • To be more holistic
  • To require more computing power
  • To collect data more efficiently
  • To be more decentralised
  • To return data ownership back to patients
  • To focus on automation of compliance
  • To be more interoperable

Detailed analysis here.


Healthcare providers will be able to rely on notification for admission, discharge, transfer, and even an emergency event. The notifications will be available to the patient’s designated healthcare providers

National and private insurance schemes and funds will be able to exchange claims, clinical, and encounter data with others, via the future format of modern APIs.

Individual patients will be able to make choices, to allow or disallow access to their health data and medical history. Hence, they will be responsible for understanding the privacy and security concerns of consent. Dynamic consent may be in wide practice.

Third-party healthcare providers, developers, and researchers will be able to share with patients what they do with their health data. An ecosystem of innovations is expected to emerge based on a digital backbone with national health data, as well as new decentralised markets for health data


FHIR has already become one of the most popular standards in global healthcare. Furthermore, it may provide an infrastructure for the coming ecosystem of digital services, where development of smart applications to deliver value-added health information exchange, will be based upon a health data layer, structured by FHIR.

Whatever standard will actually be winning globally if any, it will have to address the challenges of data siloes that have to be broken, and real time based access to health data across participants to a global standard/network. Here the concept of critical mass is expected to trigger the development, based upon ease of integration. The basics have been achieved already, HL7 v2 enables consistency.

We may also expect to see establishment and wide use of longitudinal electronic health record (EHR) presents challenges as it often includes data from traditional and emerging sources, as well as data sourced from disparate systems.

FHIR has already allowed a much wider array of technologies and approaches. It FHIR embraces a modern API approach that enables real-time, stateless connectivity, known from in other areas. Hence, we may expect a dramatic increase in faster adoption of FHIR relative to HL7 v2.

This wide adoption is likely to result in significant changes to the ways we interact with healthcare providers. With risk of consumerisation of health services, we are likely to see innovations to become universally applicable, independent of a vendor or a healthcare provider.

The most recent legal frameworks promote promotes patient access to their health data, we may expect a shift of focus to support needs of providers, to address innovations.


Currently, we focus on implementation of patient access. Once done, we may need to go one step further, and return the ownership of health data to the patient. The ownership will also mean that the patient is responsible to handling her/his health data, which may clearly become a complicated task. A whole array of ethical issues shall be addressed as well.

With health data accessible, patients will be able to understand and to take more active part in finding better outcomes, that may be related to a choice of treatment.


Employing AI (NLP) and medical machine learning, healthcare providers will be able to manage reimbursements intelligently, to diagnose better, and to gain insights into patients.

On the background of the ongoing evolution to value-based healthcare, real-time health data exchange will improve the quality of care and increase efficiency in its delivery.

Another essential area where AI may be employed is management of health data flows across networks. It is critical for the digital health industry.


With further advancements of technology, interoperability will continue to evolve. To ensure the exchange of patient data is efficient and secure, healthcare organisations must adhere to the most current guidelines for healthcare interoperability, but also to take part in the development of future visions.

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