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Interoperability Paper

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The foster care system or the child welfare is an organization that steps in when a report has been issued about the wellbeing or a child. A report would be made to child protective services when neglect or abuse is suspected, or for whatever the reasoning may be the parents are unable to care for their children, Child Protective Services (CPS) would arrange for the children to enter into the foster care system. The foster care system is an agreement between adults to take children into their homes and care for them while their parents are unable to do so. Foster care is usually a temporary situation and the children are often reunited with their birth parents, but for some situations a more permeant process may be required, the foster care system is temporary but adoption is forever. The interoperability system that the human service field has recently taken into is a sharing of information across the board. Working with other organizations to exchanged information on a secure network in order to enhance the outcome in client care. In the foster care system the information that would need to be shared as well as the information that without the shared information the situation would not be figured out.

For example if a child who has been through a traumatic experience and has been in two to three foster homes in the last five years is showing signs of other psychiatric disorders or behavior disorders, having these inter linking services show that the child was placed in foster care because of extreme abuse and neglect and that the child has been in a few different homes all in different school districts. Linking this information will allow the provided to know that the poor activity in school is based on the lack of consistency, and that the past of the child is directly linked to the trauma experienced early in life (Washington, DC: US Government Accountability Office, 2011). Then using the information gathered they can created a plan of action to help this child.

Inoperability is the linking of information from all types of organizations into a central system that can be access by all health and human service workers for a number of reasons. Linking the information and exchanging information in a seamless and predetermined format to ensure that all organizations can follow the information and update as needed. Interoperability has been broken down into three different methods that can be implemented into the human service field. These break downs are operational/ business interoperability, information interoperability, and technical interpretational. Operational or business interoperability is the grouping of businesses or organizations that will work together into order to combine goals and the total vison, these businesses will follow same guidelines no matter how big or small the organization is. When implementing into the foster care system this would be used for information about services and organizations involved together. This would be used for case management and case relationships, in the foster care system this would include medication lists, therapists, and past medical treatments that pertain to the child in foster care.

The positives on this interoperability method is that it is a smaller more generalized grouping. The negatives are that this could leave out key information about the client and that no real code is used so a lot of misinterpreting may occur. Informational interoperability is shared information and how that information should be managed. This method defines how the information is to be shared, what kind of knowledge that is obtained and how it is to be managed (Margaret Rouse, 2006). This is also where the information about identities are to be protected. In the foster care system this would be where the child lives, where the child has lived in the past. Information about why the child is in foster care and any other personal information about the case. The positives about this method are that it would be based on a basic code and understanding so that most people adding in information would follow the same directions. The negatives are that they are not all the same codes so once again kept information could be missing. “Technical interoperability includes common methods and shared services for the communication, storage, processing, and access to data primarily in the application platform and communications infrastructure domains.” (Togaf, 2013),.

This is the technical aspect of sharing information. Instead of linking thousands of web based information sites there is one infrastructure that contains all the links and information together in a secure setting. This enables the information to be found easily and can link more organizations together. The negatives in this method is that most of the information will be online, so when the internet is unable to be reached the information will be unobtainable. Having a database that is not online would not be as functional. Each organization needs to determine their method of interoperability that works best for them and what they are trying to accomplish. The positives about the methods are that working together with other organizations will help compile all information needed to correctly and effectively diagnose the issues, or to see the whole picture not just bits and pieces of information. The negatives about interoperability is that since the information is available it could possibly lead to the information not being as private as if it were on a separated network.

Having paper back up and secure system backups to ensure that even if the network fails that the information is safe and secure. Ensuring that the information will and cannot be lost or destroyed easily and that there is always a backup solution. Interoperability is a great step forward in the human service field, sharing and exchanging information about each client can help solve mysteries on why the problem is occurring and why the treatment is not helping, or just having an outline of past diagnosis, and past medications, and well as past therapy diagnosis. Working together for the better of all the clients, making each human service worker more efficient all while sharing information that will improve the lives on the foster children, bettering their health, helping them work towards an independent adult hood all while saving money along the way.

GAO, Foster Children: HHS Guidance Could Help States Improve Oversight of Psychotropic Prescriptions (Washington, DC: US Government Accountability Office, 2011) HIMSS Dictionary of Healthcare Information Technology Terms, Acronyms and Organizations, 3rd Edition, 2013, p. 75 HIMSS Dictionary of Healthcare Information Technology Terms, Acronyms and Organizations, 2nd
Edition, 2010, Appendix B, p190, original source: HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association. Margaret Rouse, (2006), “Interoperability”. Retrieved from: http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/definition/interoperability

Microsoft, (2013), “Data Back Up and Recovery”. Retrieved from: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727010.aspx
S. Phicil, Financing the Special Health Care Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care: A Primer (Boston, MA: Catalyst Center, 2012). Togaf, (2013), “Interoperability Requirements”. Retrieved from: http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/chap29.html

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