Why standardize in healthcare and what standards are there?
  • Why standardize in healthcare and what standards are there?

Why standardize in healthcare and what standards are there?

Why standardize in healthcare and what standards are there?

Standardization is a crucial aspect of healthcare that helps to improve the quality of care, ensure patient safety, promote system interoperability and increase the efficiency of healthcare services. The use of common standards and protocols makes it possible to streamline data, processes and communication in the healthcare sector, making care delivery more effective and consistent. In this article, we discuss why standardization in healthcare is important and which standards there are that contribute to better healthcare.

Why standardize in healthcare?

1. Improved patient safety

Standardization helps reduce human error and inconsistencies in care delivery. By following common guidelines and protocols, healthcare providers can treat patients in a consistent and safe manner. This reduces the risk of errors, confusion and potentially avoidable complications.

2. Efficiency and cost savings

Standardization promotes efficiency in healthcare. By using common processes and protocols, healthcare facilities can streamline workflow and reduce unnecessary repetition of tasks. This leads to cost savings and resource optimization.

3. Interoperability

In modern healthcare, sharing data between different healthcare providers and systems is essential. Standardization of data formats and communication protocols promotes interoperability, allowing different systems to communicate seamlessly with each other. This enables more comprehensive and better coordinated care.

4. Research and analysis support

Data standardization makes it easier to collect, analyze and compare data. This is vital for research and epidemiological studies, enabling scientists to identify trends and patterns and develop effective treatment methods.

5. Better Decision Making

By standardizing, healthcare providers can make more informed decisions. Guidelines and protocols provide clear and evidence-based recommendations, standardizing and optimizing clinical decision-making.

What standards are there in healthcare?

1. HL7 (Health Level Seven)

HL7 is an international standard for data exchange between healthcare information systems. It makes it possible to share clinical and administrative data in a standardized way between different healthcare institutions and systems.

2. DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine)

DICOM is a standard for storing, retrieving and sharing medical imaging data, such as X-rays and MRI scans. It provides interoperability between different medical imaging equipment and systems.

3. ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision)

ICD-10 is an international classification of diseases and health problems used to code and classify diagnoses in healthcare. It provides standardized terminology for capturing medical data.

4. SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms)

SNOMED CT is a comprehensive clinical terminology that captures medical concepts and relationships between diseases and procedures. It is used for electronic health records and supports data exchange and interoperability.

5. CDA (Clinical Document Architecture)

CDA is an XML-based standard for exchanging clinical documents, such as medical letters, discharge letters, and lab results. It ensures standardized and structured data exchange between different healthcare institutions and systems.


Standardizing healthcare is vital to improve the quality of care, ensure patient safety and increase the efficiency of health services. The use of common standards and protocols promotes interoperability, improves decision making, and supports research and analysis. HL7, DICOM, ICD-10, SNOMED CT and CDA are some of the important standards that contribute to better healthcare by streamlining data exchange and processes between healthcare providers and systems. Promoting standardization in healthcare is an ongoing endeavor that will contribute to more coherent and effective healthcare delivery for the benefit of patients around the world.