Today, most large hospital information systems (HIS) comprise many heterogeneous application systems, loosely coupled via interfaces. Integration could offer many advantages, like the support of interdepartmental workflows or a consistent patient record. This cannot be achieved, however, by simply interfacing originally unrelated component systems. In this paper, we present relevant concepts of integration, the autonomy/consistency tradeoff, and technical alternatives in some detail. Based on our recent experiences in analyzing an existing HIS and selecting adequate vendors for the needs of our 1250-bed hospital, we then discuss strategies and tradeoffs on the way to a HIS that utilizes state-of-the-art technology to fill the users’ needs.
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