For the first time in several years, I attended the IHE North American (NA) Connectathon 2015. What an enriching experience to be in the same room with nearly 600 dedicated engineers from more than 100 organizations making their IT systems interoperable. Check out these photos – pretty cool stuff.
In addition to their preparation ahead of time, these engineers work for five solid days on their coding to ensure that existing IT standards are implemented in their IT systems in a standard way, according to IHE Profiles or specifications. That’s what IHE is all about – making interoperability happen through consistent approaches to implementing health IT standards.
And, these engineers work hard. They arrive early each day, and many hours later, the staff is gently urging them out of the building at 11pm each night. Engineers are sent to the IHE Connectathon from fiercely competitive firms. For a week every year, they work shoulder-to-shoulder to solve interoperability issues. Companies don’t want to compete on interoperability – they want to compete on functionality, usability, convenience, pricing, and other attributes.
What are they working on? Here are three examples from this week’s IHE Connectathon: Making interoperability a reality between patient care devices (like smart scales and infusion pumps) to seamlessly and securely share information with EHRs, helping the CDC to better understand how to effectively tackle the United States’ obesity epidemic, and for the State of Utah to ensure that its state’s residents and care-givers have the right health information at the right time to make the right decisions.
I want to personally thank all the organizations who sent their engineers to the IHE NA Connectathon and to all the dedicated passionate volunteers who helped develop the IHE Technical Frameworks to make this all possible. Thanks to these folks, we are getting closer all the time to the ultimate goal – the right information being available to the right people at the right time to make the right health and healthcare decisions.