I did not understand the blog post about un-semantic interoperability. Can you elaborate? Will FHIR provide any of this un-semantic interoperability?
Well, the original post on unsemantic interoperability is just pointing out that many people mis-understand the nature of what semantic interoperability is trying to achieve:
We’ve had semantic interoperability in healthcare since we started having healthcare. Since the beginning of healthcare (by whatever definition you can use), healthcare practitioners have exchanged data using spoken and written words, and the semantic meaning has been clear (well, as clear as it can be given that human knowledge is limited).
So whatever it is that we are doing, it’s not introducing semantic interoperability. In fact, what we are doing is introducing a new player into the mix: computers. And not, in actual fact, computers, but the notion that there is something to be gained by processing healthcare information by persons or devices who don’t properly understand it. So, in fact, what we are actually doing is seeking for unsemantic interoperability.
It’s a matter of perspective. Perhaps, one day, we’ll really be working on true semantic inteoperability. But right now, we can afford to chase a lesser goal, which is exchanging data that can be used usefully in some limited pre-ordained ways.
And FHIR provides lots of this – that’s what it’s good at – getting data that is passably well self-described to be exchanged as easily as possible.
For systems that is really working towards genuine semantic interoperability, FHIR is actually a step backwards (though I’d argue that the easy availability of information that is passably well described is a huge improvement over the non-availability of information that is well described).