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Data standardization and interoperability of the health system

The interoperability is the facility of connecting various systems and that they speak the same language. Counting on this option is very important because it enables us to become health service clients, as owners of our information. Thus, we can provide sensitive and detailed information if it is necessary

In the route to improve the security and patient experience, Costa Rica has to assume the standardization of health data as a national project.

What does this mean? The possibility of having a digital file that is available for the user, that is to say, that a unique file in which the user becomes the owner of their information and can be used in the health systems and pharmacies if required.

The impact of this practice positions the patient in the centre of the health ecosystem, guarantees their wellbeing and assertive and precise care, signalled Angie Jiménez, Client Strategist and partner at Extendo, which is a firm specialized in data services to develop client value.

The standardization of data is not a new theme but without doubt the Covid-19 pandemic evidenced the need to count on this interoperability between the different digital files.

In Costa Rica the health sector is actually facing an enormous problem in light of the absence of interoperability of the data because though the data exists, it is fragmented, and the reality is that this is more evident between the public and private healthcare systems.
Interoperability is a practice which is present in Europe and is appearing in Latin America in countries like Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay where the first steps have been taken.


Correctly centralizing and cataloging the health data has important advantages to many fields, which can be visualized in a pyramid.

“The main objective needs to be to standardize, to make interoperability possible and afterwards think about data analysis” stressed Jiménez, who expressed that the scope is potentially favorable, especially for Costa Rica which counts on one of the most robust health systems at a global level, the immediate challenge to address is in innovating and applying other technological tools.


The interoperability, that is achieved through data standardization can also be converted into a platform to create public policies that allow the identification, for example, of common medical conditions in a region, the associated factors and with it, work on prevention and also educational initiatives.

The data generated can be relevant for users and investigators in other places, or for local development and healthcare. To allow and/or notably reduce the inefficiencies due to the duplication of processes for obtaining information and in the waiting times, improve diagnostics and treatments because the aim is to positively impact on the quality of life of a person

There is a combination of activities that form part of this challenge. All the health organizations need to be interoperable, implying that it is not only commitment on the part of the participating sectors, but also, and no less important, that the creation of cybersecurity policies for data will be well developed and secure. In Costa Rica, it would ideal if the CCSS, which guides medical development, can adopt the standardization; however, there are other organizations that can take advantage to provide this service to the patients.