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Health Informatics Standards - Standard Content

Last modified at 9/13/2012 5:42 PM by Laszlo Balkanyi

Code Systems, Nomenclatures and Classifications

Health informatics Standards in general are discussed on FEM WIKI page `Health Informatics Standards – general introduction`. Two other related pages focus on system / process standards and various other health informatics standards. This page is focusing on standard content. The goal of standardizing content is to ensure interoperability and transparency on the semantic level of information exchange, that the meaning of data is understood in an unambiguous way. It has to be noted, that the need for unambiguous interpretation of health data preceded the current era of informatics, therefore a lot of standard for content has a strong legacy, a long history. (A excellent example is the classification of diseases (some elements: first classification in Jean Fernel’s `Universa Medicini`, published in 1554, first internationally accepted (ISI) classification by Bertillon, 1893, listing fourteen major classes, already mixing groups denoted by their bodily location, by age, by cause[1].)

In order to achieve the above stated goals you find content standards in health informatics on different layers: data standards and metadata standards. To understand deep, conceptual difference of these layers from semiotic point of view, see the work of Gangemi et all [2]. Here is a simplified version helping us to understand which type of content standard on the data layer could be used for which type of tasks:


Regarding the issue of how to implement / how to present this content, there are a number of content model (data model) standards, trying to establish transparent, reusable reference frameworks to publish these content data. Probably the best known archetype of a huge number of these kind of standards is the family EN 13606-1..4:2007 Health informatics - Electronic health record communication standard. See also the FemWiki entry 'Health Informatics Standards - Health Information Systems and Processes' for more details on these.  On metadata level currently there is no widely used standard, however the general Dublin Core Metadata standard, DCMI (also an ISO standard) has many health applications.

See more details here:
[1] Details here: 
[2] Gangemi, A., Galanti M., Galeazzi E., Rossi Mori, A.: Beyond UMLS: Computational Semantics for Medical Records in: Lun KC, et al eds., MEDINFO, 92,  Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1992