Interoperability Made Real

Over the past 14 years, HIMSS has been a powerful supporter of interoperable health systems.  With RSNA, HIMSS partnered to stand-up and support an initiative called IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise).  And, a couple of years ago, HIMSS and RSNA helped IHE establish itself as an independent, not-for-profit organization.

In the world of health information interoperability, this is an exciting time – it’s Connectathon Week

“What’s that,” you say? 

 Well, let me tell you. 

Right now, as I type this, there are more than 500 engineers, in the basement of a hotel in Chicago, testing more than 160 types of health information systems from 101 companies.

These engineers – fierce competitors all – sit side-by-side every day for a week to make sure that health information flows. . .seamlessly. . .from system to system to system.  All dedicated to baking interoperability into health information systems.  And, there are 70 volunteers managing the whole operation.  Volunteers who take a week from work, who returned early from maternity leave, and otherwise freely give of their precious time to make a difference.

Over the course of a week, more than 5,000 connections will be tested – this translates into thousands of health transactions.  The companies in attendance are, in total, contributing about $2.4 million in staff time and resources.

All of the work accomplished by IHE is freely published into the public domain.  It’s available for anyone to use. 

And, now, IHE USA is partnering with ICSA Labs to launch a new certification and testing program.  This new offering blends very well with the conformance testing underway at the annual Connectathon.  Using an accredited, standards-based certification program, IHE USA will be able to verify that systems are, in fact, interoperable against established criteria.

Interoperability of health information is hard.  It’s complex and detailed work.  The Connectathon is a positive example of real progress being made in real-time.  We invite you to join us at HIMSS13 to see the outcomes of this work – visit our Interoperability Showcase, where you’ll experience real interoperability of health information. . .not simulations. 

See you in NOLA!


About Carla M Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS

Carla M Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS , is HIMSS Executive Vice President.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Health IT News and Developments, HIMSS News and Developments, HIMSS13, Interoperability & Standards, Patient-Centered Systems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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