Health Information Standards: Towards Integrated Health Information Networks

Health Information Standards: Towards Integrated Health Information Networks

Stergiani Spyrou (The Medical School at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), Panagiotis Bamidis (The Medical School at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Nicos Maglaveras (The Medical School at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-356-2.ch008


This chapter presents an abstract view of the regional health information networks (RHN). A presentation of the architecture and structures of the RHN is included. It also reveals the need for integration of information in the framework of a RHN and key issues for the applicability of health information standards to achieve interoperable health care organizations which are the stakeholders of the RHN are presented. Furthermore, a list of case studies for the implementation of RHN in health systems in European, as well as non-European countries, such as the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are demonstrated. Finally, important areas to focus when evaluating RHN are described. The authors hope that the abstract view of RHN would assist in the understanding of the key areas when building regional health networks.
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Health Information Networks: Architecture And Organizational Structure

There is a wide variation on how the ICT facilitate the organizational structure of RHN and the sharing of information either patient information or administrative and financial information. The organizational structure of a RHN provided by the health policy makers, determines the possible data owners and the ability to achieve interoperability among the stakeholders of a RHN determines the architecture of the information system that supports the RHN. The models for the architecture of RHN can be an abstraction of the architecture models of the Health Units. The systems that support the health units can be categorized in three models: transactional, federated, centralized depending to their ability for health information exchange with other health care providers, individuals, patients etc.

The participation of stakeholders in a regional system depends on the implementation of an interoperable health information infrastructure. The main barriers to achieve the interoperable infrastructure and facilitate the information sharing are the patient matching and legal data sharing agreements.

According to Wilcox et. Al. in (Wilcox et al., 2006) and the experience from the case studies of Health Information Networks, the architecture approaches for an interoperable health information infrastructure in an organization are (Thielst & Jones, 2007):

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