Global Health Information Networks Get a Boost

IEEE DS Online Exclusive Content, Greg Goth

…The next step in expanding the interoperable and open source mindset among
healthcare developers might not come from patient-facing applications such as
VistA. Instead, some healthcare IT experts see it in projects such as the [Global Pandemic Initiative],
the new Eclipse Open
Healthcare Framework project
, and the Open Group’s
Universal Data Element Framework
. Chris Harding, who heads the Open Group’s
UDEF working group on semantic interoperability, describes UDEF as a Dewey
decimal-like classification system for data semantics. He thinks it might allow
even healthcare organizations with disparate top-level architectures to share
metadata: “Because they have a common indexing method,” he says, “they’ll know
what each other is talking about.”

UDEF is based on the ISO 11179 standard for metadata registries. Harding says
it’s also intended to integrate Semantic Web technology, therefore serving as a
sort of bridge between the two. Among the organizations interested in testing
the UDEF for its potential in improving interoperability is the US National
Cancer Institute.