Large-scale eHealth deployment projects face a major challenge when called to select the right set of standards and tools to achieve sustainable interoperability in an ecosystem including both legacy systems and new systems reflecting technological trends and progress. There is not a single standard that would cover all needs of an eHealth project, and there is a multitude of overlapping and perhaps competing standards that can be employed to define document formats, terminology, communication protocols mirroring alternative technical approaches and schools of thought. eHealth projects need to respond to the important question of how alternative or inconsistently implemented standards and specifications can be used to ensure practical interoperability and long-term sustainability in large scale eHealth deployment. In the eStandards project, 19 European case studies reporting from R&D and large-scale eHealth deployment and policy projects were analyzed. Although this study is not exhaustive, reflecting on the concepts, standards, and tools for concurrent use and the successes, failures, and lessons learned, this paper offers practical insights on how eHealth deployment projects can make the most of the available eHealth standards and tools and how standards and profile developing organizations can serve the users embracing sustainability and technical innovation.
eStandards eHealth Standards and Profiles in Action for Europe and Beyond