IHE Moves into Cardiology Enterprise

In booth #4563 in the far back corner of the exhibit area of the American College of Cardiology meeting this month, a demonstration is taking place that stands to change the practice of cardiology, forever.

Have you ever had to view an ECG remotely and couldn't? Had add-on echo procedures go unbilled? Had to enter patient information into multiple cath lab systems (and feared you'd make a data entry error!)? This first demonstration of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise in the cardiology space is addressing these and many other patient information concerns.
The demonstration brings together 14 vendors and 28 products—although it represents the work of more than 300 engineers from 43 vendors testing more than 110 products over the past year. After listening to a seven-minute presentation, visitors can learn from clinical scenarios in echocardiography and cath lab, both of which include ECG data. These support the Cardiology Year 1 IHE Integration Profiles which include, Retrieve ECG for Display (allows retrieval and display of high-res ECG display via web browser based on patient ID); Echocardiography Workflow (establishes continuity and integrity of basic patient data and orders even when digital echo cart is intermittently connected to the network; six scenarios in all) and Cardiac Catheterization Workflow (syncs up orders and evidence-gathering with patient identifiers and demographic data, schedules and coordinates procedures; eight scenarios in all).

This demonstration brings mindshare gained in radiology and healthcare IT—which was visited last month at HIMSS by National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology David Brailer, MD, PhD. "IHE ... is becoming the obvious thing to do and our goal is to make it the inevitable thing to do," Brailer said at HIMSS.

If you are not familiar with it, IHE—built on the framework of DICOM and HL7—is the collaborative work on the Radiological Society of North America and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Input also has been provided for the cardiology project from the American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions and the European Society of Cardiology.

The initiative is creating the framework for passing health information seamlessly between disparate applications, systems and settings across the healthcare enterprise. It drives the adoption of standards, with IHE Integration Profiles specifying how standards can be used to address clinical problems and ambiguities, reduce configuration and interfacing costs and ensure a higher level of interoperability.

At ACC, there will be IHE theater presentations, panel discussions and real equipment demonstrations. Grab some pointers on equipment RFP content that will be discussed to help in future equipment purchases.

All concerned, efficiently sharing critical healthcare information allows the best care decisions - and it's what IHE is all about. So be sure to wander back to the IHE exhibit. Or if you won't be onsite, let your fingers do the walking at www.acc.org/ihe.htm or www.ihe.net.