Semantic Interoperability and the Replacing Doctors with Technology

In one of my many conversations with people about EMR and healthcare IT I sent the following response to comments about Semantic Interoperability in healthcare.

I agree with you that we’re a long way from semantic interoperability. Plus, we won’t every reach the full vision of what we’d like it to be.

With that said, we will make major progress on understanding the data and assisting the doctors in what they do. It will never replace the doctors, but will be an aid to them to do better work. Other inventions on the other hand could replace doctors to some extent. Similar to how the thermometer in every home has replaced a number of doctor’s visits.

I make some pretty wide assertions in the comment above. I figured, why do them in private, when it’s so much more fun to do it in public where others can discuss and we can all learn. What do you think? How far are we from semantic interoperability in healthcare?

What about technology as a replacement for doctors? Do you think that will ever happen? Will semantic interoperability help that to happen?

What are the future “thermometers” in healthcare which will change our interaction with our healthcare providers?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I do not believe we will replace the clinician but brining true semantic interoperability will being another essential player to the table alongside the clinician and the patient – namely clinical data. Not just the patient data but also the data/knowledge we generate on a daily basis through research, clinical trials and increasingly through patient treatment and results.

    Nick van Terheyden, MD
    Chief Medical Information Officer
    Nuance Healthcare,/a>

  • There are many things doctors do that can be done as well or better by computers.

    In other industries, the computer takes on mundane tasks and production workers increase thruput to increase profit while decreasing cost

    In medicine, we use the EHR to increase the number of mundane tasks doctors must perform and thus decrease thruput. No other industry would tolerate this.

    Only the government would come up with something this counterproductive

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