Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise

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IHE is an initiative by healthcare professionals and industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information. IHE promotes the coordinated use of established standards such as DICOM and HL7 to address specific clinical needs in support of optimal patient care. Systems developed in accordance with IHE communicate with one another better, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively.

Optimal patient care requires efficient access to comprehensive electronic health records (EHRs). IHE accelerates the adoption of the information standards needed to support EHRs. More than 100 vendors have implemented and tested products based on IHE. IHE improves patient care by harmonizing healthcare information exchange and provides a common standards-based framework for seamlessly passing health information among care providers, enabling local, regional and national health information networks.

IHE enhances the quality of patient care, resulting in the following benefits:


Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise
 

”IHE supports the nation’s goal of achieving a national healthcare information network because when IHE profiles are incorporated into EHR products, it is easier to access and share patient information.”

— GREG WALTON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CIO, CARILION HEALTH SYSTEM

THE FOUR STEPS OF THE IHE PROCESS

IHE follows a defined, coordinated process for standards adoption. These steps repeat annually, promoting steady improvements in integration.

I. Identify Interoperability Problems. Clinicians and IT experts work to identify common interoperability problems with information access, clinical workflow, administration and the underlying infrastructure.

II. Specify Integration Profiles. Experienced healthcare IT professionals identify relevant standards and define how to apply them to adress the problems, documenting them in the form of IHE integration profiles.

III. Test Systems at the Connectathon. Vendors implement IHE integration profiles in their products and test their systems for interoperability at the annual IHE Connectathon. This allows them to assess the maturity of their implementation and resolve issues of interoperability in a supervised testing environment.

IV. Publish Integration Statements for use in RFPs. Vendors publish IHE integration statements to document the IHE integration profiles their products support. Users can reference the IHE integration profiles in requests for proposals, greatly simplifying the systems acquisition process.

THE TECHNICAL FRAMEWORK — PUTTING BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY TOGETHER

The Technical Framework consists of two parts:

Integration Profiles and Transactions. The Integration Profiles model the business process problem and the solution to the problem; the Transactions section defines in thorough detail the way in which current standards are used to solve the business problem defined in the Integration
Profiles. Integration Profiles are based on the following modeling concepts:

Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise


An Actor. A system or part of a system that creates, manages or acts upon data.

A Transaction. A specific interaction between Actors to exchange information.

Here are a few examples of Actors and Transactions used in IHE integration profiles.

 Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise

 
LEADING BY EXAMPLE

IHE participants promote interoperability by building systems that conform to an industry-wide framework for implementing standards. More than 100 healthcare vendors worldwide offer ready-to-integrate products to benefit healthcare enterprises of all sizes. CIOs and clinicians appreciate the positive impact IHE has made on radiology, cardiology, laboratory and enterprise infrastructure as well as powerful cross-enterprise healthcare infrastructures.

IHE AND THE ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD (EHR)

IHE has defined a common framework to deliver the basic interoperability needed for local and regional health information networks. It has developed a foundational set of standards-based integration profiles for information exchange with three interrelated efforts:

  1. Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) support for document content interoperability. This supports a standards-based EHR across clinical encounters and care settings.
  2. A security framework for protecting the confidentiality, authenticity and integrity of patient care data.
  3. Cross-domain patient identification management to ensure consistent patient information and effective searches for EHRs.

To get more information about IHE please visit their website.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 30 June 2007 16:24 )