On January 25-29 over 1000 health IT professionals gathered in Cleveland, Ohio to participate in the health information technology (HIT) industry’s largest collaboration, testing and education event the IHE North America Connectathon. This week long event provides developers a forum to advance interoperability for health information systems.
Why does interoperability matter when it comes to the sharing of health information? Interoperability enables interactions between disparate information systems without having to directly connect them through a hard-coded interfaces. This decoupled approach reduces dependencies and provides the ability to more easily exchange data with other healthcare systems. To provide interoperability, both semantic and syntactic interoperability need to be addressed. As we have seen in other industries, standards can be used to help address interoperability.
IHE standards address syntactic interoperability and provide some support for semantic interoperability. The focus of IHE testing is to ensure message standards are complete and that applications that implement the standards can interoperate. OpenHIE participation in connectathon allows testers and independent monitors to verify that the disparate OpenHIE reference systems can exchange information with other systems via the defined protocols.
OpenHIE community members came from around the globe to participate in this year’s North American Connectathon event to test standards that support OpenHIE workflows. OpenHIE focused on testing protocols related to:
- aggregate reporting from a health management information system
- aggregate reporting from individual case reports
- the ability to store discrete data in shared health record and produce an on-demand clinical document
- alert messaging
- patient registration
- patient demographic queries
For more information on IHE testing and conformance statements for previous connectathon testing, visit the OpenHIE Integration Statements page on our wiki.