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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2 (2011), Issue 1, Pages 1-24
Research Article

The ISO/EN 13606 Standard for the Interoperable Exchange of Electronic Health Records

Pilar Muñoz,1 Jesús D. Trigo,1 Ignacio Martínez,1 Adolfo Muñoz,2 Javier Escayola,1 and José García1

1Aragon Institute for Engineering Research (I3A), University of Zaragoza (UZ), Spain
2Telemedicine and Information Society Department, Health Institute “Carlos III” (ISCIII), Madrid, Spain

Received 1 July 2010; Accepted 1 December 2010

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The standardization of Electronic Health Records (EHR) is a crucial factor for ensuring interoperable sharing of health data. During recent decades, a plethora of initiatives - driven by international organizations - has emerged to define the required models describing the exchange of information between EHRs. These models cover different essential characteristics for building interoperable EHRs, such as architecture, methodology, communication, safety or terminology, among others. In this context, the European reference frame for the standardized exchange of EHR is the recently approved ISO/EN 13606 standard. This multi-part standard provides the syntactic and semantic capabilities (through a dual model approach) as well as terminology, security and interface considerations for the standardized exchange of EHR. This paper provides (a) an introduction to the different standardization efforts related to the interoperable exchange of EHR around the world, and (b) a description of how the ISO/EN 13606 standard provides interoperable sharing of clinical information.