Interoperability: The health and healthcare sector should be inspired by the financial sector’s digital structure

We have the same standards, security, performance, and applications equal to the financial world’s interoperability system, but we must focus on the patient and data. Otherwise, we will not achieve the E-health vision 2025.

The Swedish vision in E-health 2025 aims to submit Sweden’s position as world leading in using the opportunities of digitalisation in e-health. The vision further aims to accomplish an easier process for people to achieve good and equal health and welfare, but also to develop and strengthen the resources for increased independence and participation in community life. This requires a change in our IT behaviour.

Every time we buy something online, we assume that the bank’s and the store’s financial systems co-operate and that transactions runs smoothly and automatically. Additionally, when earning our monthly pay check, we know that regardless of bank, our employer will be able to make a deposit. It is a mandatory presumption and the basis of the financial sector, which should also be the case within the field of health and medical care.

IT developments in finance and healthcare are in many ways similar, but there is one outlining difference. In the financial world, data is at the centre. In the same way, in healthcare, the patient should be at the centre. However, this is not yet the case. This was stated by Andreas Waldo, business development manager at Dedalus, at 2021 year’s FLISA conference. FLISA is the Association for Swedish ambulance care and consists of operations managers, medical management managers and training managers from Sweden’s 21 healthcare regions.

Andreas Waldo presented how the same standards, security, performance, and applications exist in healthcare, as within the financial sector. Interoperability, or the ability to develop data, however, does not exist to the same sufficient extent within healthcare.
“The financial sector is an industry that has succeeded well with interoperability. Healthcare should be inspired by the financial sector’s interoperability approach, which has its origin in a long term strategy of collecting data in a data platform, placing demands on suppliers and systems wanting to connect with that data.”

“In healthcare, we repeatedly talk about having focus on the patient, which means having patient data in the centre of the system. By creating an interoperability platform, healthcare institutions will control the data and will be able to start establishing certain standards on the systems. However, in several parts of Europe, we see a tendency of solving problems by purchasing new systems, which entails counteractive systems without connection to another.”

The healthcare sector needs a platform, which different providers can connect to.
“Patching and repairing, by purchasing new systems, is a short-term strategy, while creating an interoperability platform at the centre of the system, will support the healthcare sector’s long-term growth.

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Creating an interoperability platform has many upsides. For one, the hospitals will have the overall control of the data. Customer access to data is crucial – the provider will then have to meet the interoperability system’s criteria and strengthen the sector’s standards. Additionally, in acquiring data control, decisions of phasing out or maintaining systems is better supported.

My recommendation for the healthcare sector is to start in the right end and develop a structure, before purchasing new systems. If we do so, I believe global healthcare can reach the level of interoperability that the financial sector possess today.


Watch Andreas Waldo (in Swedish) talk about the difference between the data structure in the financial sector and in the healthcare sector:

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