The Ministry of Health adopts the following definition of interoperability:

The ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged.
(Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Board of Directors, 5 April 2013)

Consider whether your system will be able to communicate with other systems (eg the local DHB) when choosing a provider. Use systems that comply with national data and interoperability standards. For example, will your system be able to communicate with your local DHB’s system?

Network connectivity standards

Often, computers, telecommunications networks and information systems are implemented in isolation of one another. This makes it difficult and costly to share health information securely between providers and systems across the New Zealand health sector. The safe sharing of health information across a secure environment has the potential to expedite necessary care, allow for improved coordination for care, and to reduce waste in the system.

The Connected Health programme aims to establish a secure environment to safely share health information between all participating health providers.

HISO 10037.1:2010 Connected Health Architectural Framework

The programme delivers:

  • a common connectivity framework
  • connectivity standards that include:
  • core network components
  • three managed points of interconnection
  • a uniform addressing scheme
  • an accreditation and certification process for telecommunication service providers
  • governance and management oversight.

When setting up a telehealth service, check with the vendor that their service meets these requirements.