What is Interoperability?

Put simply, Interoperability is the ability of different types of computers, networks, operating systems, and applications to work together effectively, without prior communication, in order to exchange information in a useful and meaningful manner.

Why do we need to do it?

There is currently an initiative underway involving all the Public Health Observatories in the country to Interoperate with each other. This is part of a much wider initiative by the UK government to provide better public services tailored to the needs of the citizen and business. As such, the ChiMat website will have to interoperate with every other PHO in the country.

What needs to be done to Interoperate with other PHO’s?

All resources held by PHO’s need to be metadata tagged in a consistent and structured manner and the metadata needs to be stored in a database so that it can be searched.

Who set the standard for Interoperability?

The framework that the government laid down to achieve interoperability is called the "e-GIF" or e-Government Interoperability Framework. The e-GIF defines the essential prerequisites for joined-up and web-enabled government. Adherence to the e-GIF specifications and policies is mandatory. The main thrust of the framework is to adopt the Internet and World Wide Web standards for all government systems. The Association of Public Health Observatories has taken a sub-set of the e-GIF as its metadata elements and will also be using a special indexing system called the Public Health Language (PHL) to tag its resources.

What are the advantages of Interoperability?

When PHO Interoperability is achieved, a user on a distant PHO website conducting a search for resources on a particular subject will be able to view search results that link to resources from all the PHO’s in the country. The search results should be more pertinent and accurate, as the resources would have been correctly categorised using a common system. The good thing about interoperability is that the user doesn’t have to have any knowledge of the structure of government or public service they are using; they just find resources related to what they’re searching for regardless of their location within government systems.

How do I control Interoperability?

To access the interoperability controls click on the options link underneath the website searchbox, or CLICK_HERE.

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