Tech giants team up to remove healthcare interoperability barriers

A collective of traditional tech giants are advocating the adoption of health data standards

Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce have joined forces to support healthcare interoperability. Josh Mandel, Microsoft Healthcare Chief Architect outlined the progressive partnership in an online statement.

The collective also pledged their commitment in a letter issued by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). “We share the common quest to unlock the potential in healthcare data, to deliver better outcomes at lower costs,” it read.

The group will strive to implement and refine open data standards. “We are jointly committed to removing barriers for the adoption of technologies for healthcare interoperability, particularly those that are enabled through the cloud and AI,” the statement insisted.

A lack of interoperability poses a massive barrier to innovation in the healthcare industry. On the other hand, the frictionless exchange of data could streamline data access, common data models, and overall workflow integration.

Standards-based interoperability is thus integral to success in healthcare. The statement indicates that data sharing would lead to “better patient care, higher user satisfaction, and lower costs across the entire health ecosystem.”

Microsoft will utilise its cloud tech capabilities to collaborate with fellow tech innovators. “We at Microsoft are taking a collaborative approach to building open tools that will help the healthcare community, including cloud-hosted APIs and services for AI and machine learning,” Mandel declared.

However, Microsoft just released its annual report detailing some of the risks associated with artificial intelligence adoption. The company warned that algorithms may be flawed, datasets insufficient, or data practices controversial and inappropriate.

There are evidently inherent barriers in interoperability implementation. Tech companies have therefore pledged to utilise emerging standards like HL7 FHIR and the Argonaut Project to overcome some of these challenges.

To be successful, healthcare data interoperability also needs to account for the needs of all parties within the healthcare ecosystem. “Transforming healthcare means working together with organisations across the ecosystem,” Mandel claimed.

Cooperation is key. Although these tech behemoths are rivals in other markets, the group concurred that a standards-based interoperability is integral to success in the healthcare industry.

How can data analytics and big data improve the healthcare sector? Mathias Golombek, Chief Technology Officer of Exasol, offers his expertise