Cleveland, Who Knew?

Since I was born in Chicago I have a strong affinity to the Windy City. It’s a desirable global destination and well-respected for its excellent culture, cuisine, and beautiful lakefront setting. Chicago is also the birth place of IHE® (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise). Launched in 1998 through a partnership between RSNA and HIMSS, IHE has held the annual IHE North American Connectathon in the Chicago area. And the Connectathon has been convened underground since its inception, first located in the RSNA parking garage in Oakbrook, later moving to the basement of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago.

Well, I’m pleased to report that the IHE North American Connectathon and Conference 2015 have successfully come into the light in a whole new place – Cleveland, Ohio. That is the location of the brand new Global Center for Health Innovation, the co-located state-of the-art Cleveland Convention Center and the HIMSS Innovation Center.  As IHE USA began planning for this transition, there was much trepidation about the potential risks involved with moving the world’s largest health IT interoperability testing event to a new venue.



Some of the questions we asked ourselves include:

  • Question: Would the hundreds of participants and their sponsoring organizations still come in spite of the change in location?
  • Answer: Yes – we had record-breaking attendance at this IHE Connectathon (nearly 600 individuals, more than 100 organizations) and the Connectathon Conference (nearly 150 attendees, 15 speakers)
  • Question: Would the new venue be conducive to solving tough interoperability problems via multi-partner testing scenarios, workflows, and use cases?
  • Answer: Yes – participants tested more than 150 systems against IHE specifications and HL7 Consolidated CDA®, and more than 10,000 transactions were successfully exchanged.
  • Question: Would the 32,000 sq ft ballroom setting with its windows facing Lake Erie become a distraction?
  • Answer: No – instead, the neutral setting was a comfortable environment that enabled large amounts of productive work to be accomplished even more efficiently.
  • Question: Would Cleveland be an undesirable location for lodging, food or entertainment?
  • Answer: No – The hotels are top notch, there are excellent restaurants nearby, and the social event held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame delivered on its promise of an interactive evening of music, entertainment and memories!

IHE is known for its technical specifications that form the foundation of interoperability and data exchange, its broad industry expertise and its experience in system-to-system testing and certification. What the world is discovering is IHE’s value as a leader in advancing standards-based interoperability in the marketplace. IHE has come of age in a new place, in a new day, and is looking to build on its foundation with an enlightened approach toward the future.

In her closing remarks, Erica Galvez, MA, Interoperability Portfolio Manager at the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT shared with IHE this advice, “Don’t stop doing what you are doing. Continue to develop, test and lead.” And that is exactly what we intend to do.

Joyce Sensmeier MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN is president, IHE USA and Vice President of Informatics at HIMSS.

About Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN

Joyce Sensmeier, RN-BC, MS, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, is HIMSS Vice President, Informatics.
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