MSc/PGDip/PGCert Health Informatics (UCL/UoM Joint Award) / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Standards & Interoperability

Course unit fact file
Unit code IIDS61102
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Informatics, Imaging and Data Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


The closer integration of healthcare systems requires stronger and more effective standards.  If healthcare systems are to interoperate, we need systematic ways of recording and exchanging health data.  This module examines the latest internationally recognised approaches to interoperability, focussing on the expanding roles for the health record and development of electronic health record architectures.  It will look in detail at clinical coding, how coding schemes are devised and maintained, issues around data quality and use. It will look at approaches to modelling clinical content, including information models and semantic models. Standards for interoperability such as HL7, IHE, openEHR and FHIR will be explained.

In this module trainees will work as teams to gain a common understanding of where and how data is captured across the health and social care system, and consider its impact on operational and business decisions, and patient experience.  They will also examine how the information is transferred across the journey, and discuss how this could be improved.


The unit aims to introduce students to the main standards used in the health system to record and transfer data between organisations and settings.  By completing this module students will be able to know how models and standards are used and developed,and be able to critically appraise them.

Learning outcomes


Category of outcome

Students should be able to:

A. Knowledge and understanding

LO1: Evaluate the different coding systems and their usage across the health landscape and their contribution to integrated care

LO2: Assess International and national standards for quality management, software deployment, medical devices and interoperable systems (e.g. ISO9001, ISO80001 family) and know when to apply them.

LO3: Relate the issues surrounding interoperability to building effective informatics ecosystems.

LO4: Critically evaluate IT standards to ensure interoperable systems (e.g. HL7, FHIR).


LO5: Evaluate the importance of interoperability, architecture patterns to support interoperability and the current standards used when achieving interoperability


B. Intellectual skills

LO6: Critically appraise a health interoperability standard or model when used in real-world scenario

C. Practical skills

LO7: Map the flows of data/information/and understand how they interoperate

LO8: Implement/test standards to transfer data between systems

D. Transferable skills and personal qualities

LO9: Work effectively as a group

LO10: Present ideas and work in a verbal and written format

LO11: Work through the problem-solving cycle



Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods


Assessment Methods

Weighting (%)






Feedback methods

Formative assessment and feedback to students is a key feature of the on-line learning materials for this unit. 

Regular presentation of results to tutor and staff to elicit feedback and develop ideas/work.

Recommended reading

Bourquard, K., Le Gall, F. and Cousin, P., 2015. Standards for interoperability in digital health: selection and implementation in an eHealth project. In Requirements Engineering for Digital Health (pp. 95-115). Springer, Cham.

Kijsanayotin, B. and Thit, W.M., 2017. 12 Health Information Standards and Interoperability. Global health informatics: Principles of ehealth and mhealth to improve quality of care, p.149.

van Velsen, L., Hermens, H. and d'Hollosy, W.O.N., 2016, September. A maturity model for interoperability in eHealth. In e-Health Networking, Applications and Services (Healthcom), 2016 IEEE 18th International Conference on (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Georgina Moulton Unit coordinator
John Ainsworth Unit coordinator

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