IHE USA Submits Comments to ONC for Joint HIT Policy and Standards Committee

October 14, 2014 -- IHE USA President, Joyce Sensmeier, provided comments to the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) as part of the public record for the upcoming Joint HIT Policy and Standards Committee meeting. IHE USA's comments addressed JASON Report Recommendations submitted by the JASON Task Force and focused on continuing the adoption and utilization of IHE in advancing interoperability in the U.S.

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Read IHE Profiles enabling KeyHIE (as referenced in comments).

IHE Europe Announces Luxembourg will host 15th annual IHE European Connectathon, April 20-24, 2015

October 8, 2014 – IHE-Europe is delighted to announce that the city of Luxembourg will host the fifteenth annual Connectathon from 20th to 24th April 2015. Following hot on the heels of the successful Vienna, Austria Connectathon in April 2014, where the “test marathon” saw 70 plus companies testing over 100 systems with some 300 technicians, developers and marketers present, Luxembourg promises to be a very special venue for the five days of interoperability testing.

Luxembourg is at the very center of the European Union, not only geographically but also symbolically as the seat of the European Court of Justice, the Secretariat of the European Parliament, the European Investment Bank and Investment Fund. Furthermore, its governmental programme has set priority on two of Europe’s Digital agenda items - the development of ICT and of eHealth technologies. This makes Luxembourg the ideal location for the centerpiece of the IHE-Europe calendar - the 2015 Connectathon.

Read the full press release.

From the Field: Family Planning Profile

In our short existence, the OPA HIT Team has already discovered the unlimited benefits of connecting with members of both the family planning world and the health IT world. We are constantly learning and evolving in our strategies as we get important feedback from family planning providers, administrators, IT staff, and more.

To that end, we are very excited to launch a new interview series, “From the Field”! In this series, we will showcase conversations with both family planning and health IT stakeholders from across our various networks. Each installment will have a different theme. If you are interested in being interviewed for From the Field, please email FPAR2.0@hhs.gov or find Johanna at the NFPRHA Indiana meeting:  http://www.nationalfamilyplanning.org/OctoberMeeting

For our introductory installment, we spoke to three people about the comments they submitted regarding the IHE Family Planning Profile, during the public comment period in June of this year. This is just the first interview in a series of three. View full interview.

Vienna plays host to IHE-Europe 2014 Connectathon

From April 7th - 11th 2014, Vienna will be hosting the IHE-Europe Connectathon for the second time in five
years, proving IHE-Austria’s commitment in driving and supporting IHE adoption. This strong commitment
from Austria’s Government is also reflected in another important initiative launched by Austrian Government
5 years ago, namely the Public Health Research programme ELGA, which is based on selected IHE Integration

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Update on ONC's S&I Initiatives and IHE

In an article entitled "Debrief on IHE Domain Volume One Meeting and S&I Initiatives," published in the March S&I Framework Newsletter, ONC provides and update on the three S&I Initiatives participating in IHE's Call for Proposal process: Data Access Framework (DAF), Data Segmentation for Privacy (DS4P), and Structured Data Capture (SDC). The IHE Domain Volume One meeting boasts fruitful as "there was an abundance of great debate and conversation." Additionally, the article features summaries of the discussions that took place regarding each initiative.

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IHE North American Connectathon Continues to Expand Interoperability Testing

IHE USA held its 16th annual North American Connectathon in Chicago, January 27-31. This year’s event brought together 113 companies to test the interoperability and conformance to standards of more than 146 health IT systems. Fierce competing vendors collaboratively tested system capabilities based on IHE Profiles that are developed by IHE domain committees. Key areas of expansion included mobile access, patient care devices, laboratory systems and cross-enterprise exchange of information.

Again this year, IHE USA continued the expansion of testing services at the IHE North American (NA) Connectathon. A new testing track called New Directions was launched to foster cooperation amongst interoperability leaders and evaluate best practices for hospitals and medical offices to streamline the secure exchange of patient data. New Directions enables testing of emerging specifications developed by IHE and other standards organizations, including the HIMSS Health Story Project and a joint initiative between IHE USA and the Standards & Interoperability (S&I) Framework to develop a model for federated healthcare provider directories.

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Connectathon Takes New Direction

Aims to foster collaboration among interoperability efforts
CHICAGO | January 31, 2014

The Office of the National Coordinator  had a place at the table for the 15th annual IHE North American Connectathon, and it was filled by Doug Fridsma, MD, chief science officer and director of the ONC’s Office of Science and Technology and four members of his team. They were championing an effort called New Directions designed to foster cooperation among interoperability leaders.

The event, Jan. 27-31, in the basement of  the Hyatt Regency in Chicago drew more than 100 health IT companies eager to test their interoperability prowess.

As keynote speaker for the IHE North American Connectathon Conference on Jan. 29, Fridsma emphasized pulling together the interoperability initiative into a cohesive movement with concrete goals and strategy. He added, however,that “too many people see interoperability as a destination, and it isn’t – it should be about the ability to exchange and use information.”

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CCHIT ending testing and certification of EHRs

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is getting out of the business of testing and certifying electronic health-record systems after nearly a decade as the first and still most-commonly used provider of those services in the U.S.

The organization also stopped taking applications for testing and certification services from vendors Tuesday and will finish work on about 70 of those systems it has in the pipeline and wind down that part of its operations by April or May, CCHIT Executive Director Alisa Ray said.

Today, roughly half of all health IT systems on the official Certified Health IT Product List kept by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS have been tested and certified by CCHIT.

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Advancing Secure Data Exchange Focus of NA Connectathon Conference 2014

With hospitals, medical practices and other patient care sites using health IT, many of these organizations are now ready to introduce additional functionality for secure data exchange of patient health information in their interoperable health systems. The IHE North American Connectathon Conference 2014, sponsored by IHE USA, in collaboration with IHE Canada, will be held on Jan. 29 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive, in Chicago.

Read the full Press Release.

Stage Set for Big Interoperability Push

Organizers add Connectathon Conference Jan. 29 to the annual IHE Connectathon event in Chicago
CHICAGO | January 3, 2014

The push for meaningful use Stage 3 has reached a point where a confluence of power structures are ready for more breakthroughs – hence, the impetus for collaboration among IHE USA, ONC and S&I Framework, officials from these groups say.

Closer ties between Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise USA, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and Standards and the ONC’s Interoperability Framework is necessary for interoperability to reach meaningful use Stage 3, said Joyce Sensmeier, IHE USA president and HIMSS vice president of informatics.

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Continua, IHE to Boost Interoperability at Annual Meet

Continua Health Alliance will co-locate its upcoming U.S. Plugfest at IHE North America Connectathon 2014, Jan. 28-29, in Chicago. The IHE NA Connectathon is billed as the largest interoperability testing event for health IT in the country. It attracts 100 vendors and more than 600 engineers to test more than 160 systems.

Continua, an international nonprofit organization, employs global technology industry standards to develop end-to-end, plug-and-play connectivity for personal connected health. IHE USA is a nonprofit organization focused on driving the adoption of standards-based interoperability to improve patient care. Co-locating the IHE NA Connectathon and the Continua Plugfest will offer electronic health records and health information exchange participants new opportunities to work toward integration of personal connected health devices, which will help companies and healthcare organizations meet the goals of meaningful use Stage 3 and accountable care, officials say.

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Swan song for Connectathon in Windy City

Anticipation about the IHE North American Connectathon’s move to Cleveland in 2015 is running high among the event’s organizers, though they insist that they are not looking past their final year in Chicago Jan. 27-31, 2014.

In fact, there are many reasons for excitement at the Windy City event, namely the rollout of the New Directions testing track, designed for testing of innovative health IT applications still in development. Testing services offered in the New Directions track will be sponsored by the IHE USA’s partnering organizations in the healthcare IT industry.

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IHE USA & Continua Health Alliance Expand Product Testing Capability

BEAVERTON,  Ore. (November, 8, 2013) - Continua Health Alliance and IHE USA (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise USA) today announced that Continua will co-locate its upcoming U.S. Plugfest at IHE North America (NA) Connectathon 2014, Jan. 28-29, in Chicago. The IHE NA Connectathon is the largest interoperability testing event for health IT in the U.S., attracting 100 vendors testing 160+ systems and 600+ engineers last year. Continua is the leading organization convening global technology industry standards to develop end-to-end, plug-and-play connectivity for personal connected health. IHE USA is a non-profit organization focused on driving the adoption of standards-based interoperability to improve patient care.

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HIMSS Health Information Standards Workgroup Publishes Guide for Evaluating HIT Standards

This document is to provide a set of principles intended to facilitate the support of particular standards and implementation guides, as well as recommendations of those that should be considered for development by the industry to improve widespread adoption and deployment of interoperability in health information technology (HIT) systems. The included historical perspective provides further context on how the various standards initiatives are coordinated in the United States (U.S.). The goal of these efforts is to establish consistent, compatible, and usable standards that enable interoperability across the myriad software solutions that support providers, both internally and externally to their organizations.

See complete document.

Products From 8 Health IT Vendors Are First to Become IHE USA Certified

CHICAGO, IL. -- A healthcare certification program -- launched early this year to help address one of the industry’s most challenging issues, the incompatibility of many software and IT systems – has certified the first group of health IT products. Under the pilot program, a joint initiative of IHE USA and ICSA Labs, the products met rigorous testing requirements for security and interoperability.

The certified products are offered by eight health-IT vendors: Baxter Healthcare Corporation, B. Braun Medical Inc., CareFusion Corporation, Corepoint Health, Greenway Medical Technologies Inc., Hospira Inc., InterSystems Corporation and Masimo Corporation. 

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IHE USA Publishes “Interoperability for Dummies” A Guide to Health IT

Across the world, various communities in Health Information Technology (IT) are developing methods for exchanging health information among healthcare providers, patients, and other authorized parties to revolutionize the delivery of care.  However, doing something as simple as sharing secure, private healthcare information is hard. Everything involved in sharing the information must be securely constructed in a way that all the other systems involved understand it. To advance this goal, IHE USA has published Interoperability for Dummies; IHE Edition, a complimentary eBook as a part of the Wiley Brand For Dummies Series, which explains what Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) is, its value, and how people can use IHE to advance interoperability.

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Interoperability Becoming Operational in Digital Dentistry

Vendors of dental systems are invited to participate in testing their systems for conformance to the new interoperability standards at the IHE Connectathon--the week of January 13, 2014, in Chicago. Annually thereafter, the American Dental Association (ADA) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) will hold the Connectathon for vendors of digital dental health care information and imaging systems to test the implementation of interoperability standards.

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IHE USA Certification Testing Proves Successful at the North American Connectathon

IHE USA successfully completed the inaugural Certification Testing event held in conjunction with the recent IHE 2013 North American Connectathon in Chicago. Eight vendors participated in this first-ever pilot event, and performed testing to specified requirements for the IHE USA Certification pilot conducted by ICSA Labs, a third-party testing and certification body. As a pilot, the learnings of this inaugural event will be evaluated to clarify and improve processes going forward. Additionally, IHE USA is forming an Industry Advisory Panel, and ICSA Labs is forming a Technical Advisory Workgroup to provide guidance in evaluating the pilot program.

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ONC's S&I Framework praises IHE USA Certification Pilot

In an article entitled "Debrief on the 2013 IHE Connectathon," published in the February S&I Framework Newsletter, the new IHE USA Certification pilot receives praise as a "powerful model for the health IT industry," and for taking "another step toward advancing interoperability." Additionally, the article features information on the practical application of certification testing as well as highlights from the North American Connectathon 2013.

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North American Connectathon 2013 Provides Testing Ground for Meaningful Use Stage 2 Requirements

In an effort to advance interoperability in the U.S., IHE USA and the Health Story Project offered  Health Level Seven’s (HL7) Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture® (C-CDA) standard as part of the testing process at the IHE North American (NA) Connectathon 2013. When implemented into electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchanges (HIEs), HL7’s C-CDA contributes a critical component of a patient’s medical record, including the physician’s progress notes, discharge summaries, and other clinical documents. U.S. physicians create over a billion clinical notes each year. These notes contain most of a patient’s clinical records, and most EHRs are not capable of integrating this type of data into their systems. Continue to read the full press release for more details, and visit the Consolidated CDA web page to view the full test results summary.

IHE NA Connectathon Expands to Advance Interoperability of EHRs

Significant steps were taken toward advancing the interoperability of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) at the IHE NA Connectathon and Conference 2013 which took place last week at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, IL. IHE USA’s 14th annual interoperability testing event introduced several new features to complement the events core foundation- conformance testing of IHE profiles. This year, eight IHE domains were tested on 160+ systems among 550 of the industry’s top engineers. New features included testing of HL7’s Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA), a new qualification in standards and certification criteria for Meaningful Use Stage 2 in the US. IHE USA also introduced a new Certification Pilot Program with eight participating vendors. Read the full press release for details on the new testing features, outcomes, and a recap of the one-day educational conference.

IHE USA President, Joyce Sensmeier, Quoted in Healthcare IT News

In the recently published article, "Long, Winding Road for IHE," President Joyce Sensmeier explains the progress and evolution of IHE as well as where IHE is headed in the future. Also, the article features the importance of IHE Connectathons as a practical application toward interoperability.

Read the full article!

IHE USA and Health Story Advance Sharing of the Patient Story

A patient’s clinical history offers detailed and valuable health information, data not always available in an accessible format in a digital medical record. To help simplify sharing that patient story with clinical data, IHE USA and the Health Story Project will offer testing of Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture, known as Consolidated CDA, at the annual IHE North American Connectathon 2013, where health IT systems test information exchange across organizational boundaries to demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of those systems.

IHE’s North American Connectathon will include testing of the Health Story supported Consolidated CDA® during the largest health IT testing event in the United States. More details about Consolidated CDA testing at the NA Connectathon coming soon. Learn more about the NA Connectathon registration opening August 22, 2012, online.

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Testing Interoperability of Health IT Systems, 2013 Connectathon Set for
Jan. 28 - Feb.2

Now in its 14th year, the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) USA’s North American Connectathon includes a one-day conference and  the largest health IT testing event in the United States.

CHICAGO – (April 12, 2012) – Bringing engineers and IT architects together to test interoperability, the  IHE North America (NA) Connectathon 2013 comes to Chicago on Jan. 28-Feb. 2, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive. The Connectathon continues its substantial year-to-year growth as the benefits of interoperability, where health information systems work together and share information across organizational boundaries to improve healthcare delivery, become more evident.  In January 2012, the Connectathon reached record-breaking participation, with over 120 participating organizations testing more than 150 systems advancing the health IT industry and patient safety.

As in the previous years, IHE USA will also sponsor the one-day IHE NA Connectathon Conference on Jan. 30, 2013. This event is considered the cornerstone of the Connectathon, because it provides networking and educational opportunities focused on interoperability.  Attendees gain a firsthand look at the Connectathon’s tools, systems and are granted special access to the testing floor that is accelerating healthcare technology and interact with a preeminent cadre of experts and enthusiasts. .

Scenes from the 'Lollapalooza of HIT'

IHE USA's N.A. Connectathon 2012 is featured in HealthData Management's website. James St. Clair, HIMSS director of interoperability and standards, calls the Connectathon the "Lollapalooza of HIT," where collaboration enables achievements that wouldn't occur in the labs of the individual companies.

Read the full article on the HealthData Management website.