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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 323-346
Research Article

Requirements for Interoperability in Healthcare Information Systems

Rita Noumeir

Department of Electrical Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, 1100 Notre-Dame West, Montreal, Quebec, H3C 1K3, Canada

Received 1 October 2011; Accepted 1 March 2012

Copyright © 2012 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.


Interoperability is a requirement for the successful deployment of Electronic Health Records (EHR). EHR improves the quality of healthcare by enabling access to all relevant information at the diagnostic decision moment, regardless of location. It is a system that results from the cooperation of several heterogeneous distributed subsystems that need to successfully exchange information relative to a specific healthcare process. This paper analyzes interoperability impediments in healthcare by first defining them and providing concrete healthcare examples, followed by discussion of how specifications can be defined and how verification can be conducted to eliminate those impediments and ensure interoperability in healthcare. This paper also analyzes how Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) has been successful in enabling interoperability, and identifies some neglected aspects that need attention.