Why Can Interoperability Suddenly Break?

Originally EHRs were set out to be internal to the hospital or healthcare organization only, facilitating an easy method to transfer data from one hospital to another within the corporate network. The evolution of standards, technology, and Meaningful Use has created a market necessitating organizations to start securely exchanging patient information from one healthcare organization to another outside of its own corporate network. Introducing new exchange partners also introduces risk to the exchange of information or interoperability, as an organization can exchange health information with more than one organization; these organization(s) runs the potential risk of becoming non-interoperable as gateways are updated, patched, or new system implemented. A number of reasons can cause interoperability to cease among multiple healthcare providers and organizations, causing delays and a lower quality of care given to patients. Recognizing and mitigating this risk involves cooperation and constant communication amongst all organizations within the Exchange Network implementations to ensure they can always interoperate with one another. The Developers Integration Lab (DIL) seeks to mitigate this risk, by providing a centralized Reference Implementation for an organization's gateway to ensure consistent interoperability throughout the lifecycle.