News | January 20, 2010

Connectathon Shows the Power of HIT Interoperability

January 20, 2010 - The IHE 2010 North America Connectathon demonstrated the efficacy of electronic health record system connectivity and interoperable exchange of patient health data with standards-based systems.

The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) committee brought together 498 system engineers for testing, and more than 150 health IT system from 104 participating companies and organizations.

The IHE Connectathon is one of the healthcare IT industry's large-scale interoperability testing event. Connectathons are held annually in Asia, Europe and North America. During the Connectathon, systems exchange information with complementary systems from multiple vendors, performing all of the transactions required for the roles they have selected, called IHE Actors, in support of defined clinical use cases, called IHE Profiles. These Profiles then provide exact definitions of how standards can be implemented to meet specific clinical needs.

The number of HITSP Constructs tested nearly doubled at this year’s IHE North America Connectathon with 43 HITSP Constructs, compared to 24 in 2009. (A HITSP Construct specifies how to integrate and constrain selected standards to meet the business needs of a Use Case.) Quality measures that will be a component of meaningful use were a key part of the HITSP product testing activity this year.

“The IHE 2010 North America Connectathon is really a connectivity testing event, one demonstrating the ongoing commitment of the more than 100 participating organizations for the successful and secure exchange of patient health data through technology,” said Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, vice president, Informatics, HIMSS. “Since its inception in 1999, this IHE event continues to be a catalyst for a connected healthcare system, providing an opportunity for participants to test the interoperability of their systems with partners prior to taking products to their customer sites.” 

As a connectivity test-run, the IHE 2010 North America Connectathon is considered as mandatory preparation for upcoming Interoperability Showcase events, including the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2010 Interoperability Showcase on March 1-3 in Atlanta, Ga. during HIMSS10. With 73 participating vendors and organizations, the HIMSS 2010 Interoperability Showcase illustrates how interoperability drives improvements in the quality, safety and efficiency of care. As in previous years, the Showcase highlights IHE's common framework and Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) Interoperability Specifications for delivering interoperability across local, regional and national health information exchanges.                                                      
In the HIMSS 2010 Interoperability Showcase, which includes more than 20 different patient care scenarios, such as ambulatory, emergency, public health, home and others, where attendees can track their personal health record through this continuum of care. A new Showcase feature, the NHIN and CONNECT programs, led by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Federal Health Architecture (FHA), are hosting demonstrations illustrating the progress toward health IT interoperability nationwide. Demonstrations will include participants from federal government, states, cities, providers and health IT vendors clustered around the categories for meaningful use: quality measurement reporting, diagnostics, administrative efficiency, consumer empowerment, care coordination improvement, and population and public health improvement.

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