On December 5th, 2014 the Centre for Family Medicine (CFFM) FHT eHealth Centre of Excellence co-hosted a research planning session funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR). A planning grant was awarded to researchers from the University of Waterloo, Laurier University, Conestoga College and the eHealth Centre of Excellence to explore the concept of interoperability of exchanged information in a regional electronic health record (EHR).
Interoperability begins with the premise that information systems need to communicate with other systems and with people. A technology platform build on standards can allow partners to execute business functions in new ways. Once the technology systems become interoperable, changes are possible for knowledge and service to become interoperable.
The planning session included health information systems researchers (Dr. Nick Anderson, University of California-Davis; Dr. Raza Abidi, Dalhousie University; and Duane Bender, Mohawk College iDeaWORKS), health service providers from Waterloo Wellington, Health Links, the cSWO program, the WWLHIN, Canada Health Infoway, and eHealth Ontario. The active discussion involved sharing some existing work and debating the best direction for technological improvements to patient experiences and care. The outcome of the meeting was a clarification of research questions that university partners can begin focusing on now to best inform future developments in regional EHRs.