Aequus communis sententia: Defining levels of interoperability

Peter L. Elkin, David Froehling, Brent A. Bauer, Dietlind Wahner-Roedler, S. Trent Rosenbloom, Kent Bailey, Steven H. Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Scopus citations


Interoperability is a common understanding of the meaning of data between a sending and receiving computer system [1]. The level of interoperability required varies with application needs. The specification of data in enough detail to create a common shared meaning between organizations is a complex task as systems work within organizational and human factors contexts as well as having specific technical requirements. Aequus communis sententia translates from Latin to the 'level of common meaning.' In this manuscript, we define an Ontology of Interoperability. The scale asks reviewers of a specification to define it's level in terms of Syntactic, Semantic and Pragmatic Interoperability. We tested the scale by having five medical Informaticians rate a set of ANSI standard specifications and we report the inter-rater variability of the interoperability rating scheme. We learned that some elements of the scale presented more difficulty for our reviewers and based on our findings we present a final version of the interoperability scale in our discussion. Our interoperability rating ontology has high inter-rater reliability and is a relatively simple mechanism for comparing the levels of interoperability afforded by different specifications or the same specification over multiple versions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMEDINFO 2007 - Proceedings of the 12th World Congress on Health (Medical) Informatics
Subtitle of host publicationBuilding Sustainable Health Systems
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781586037741
StatePublished - 2007
Event12th World Congress on Medical Informatics, MEDINFO 2007 - Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Duration: Aug 20 2007Aug 24 2007

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


Other12th World Congress on Medical Informatics, MEDINFO 2007
CityBrisbane, QLD


  • interoperability
  • standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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