Buying systems for an IHE-friendly environment

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Once you’ve decided to convert your facility to an IHE-friendly environment with systems that support its use, it’s important to know how to go about purchasing the technology to assure its proper and timely delivery. Adopting IHE “can have incredible benefits for your institution” but also can be an incredibly uphill battle, said Eric Pearce, a consultant specializing in IHE adoption with Innovative Health Strategies of Chicago, during the SCAR U session on IHE yesterday at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine annual meeting in Austin, Texas.
   
The first thing to do is assess its workflow and understand how IHE will benefit processes and operations. From there an IHE Steering Committee should be established that is comprised of influential members of your organization. The committee also should involve vendor input, said Pearce.

Regarding vendors, a contract should be written that assures that your vendor is in-line with your idea to go completely IHE-friendly, and this contract should explicitly lock-down vendors with specific timelines for delivery, Pearce noted. Moreover, the contract should include a means by which to penalize vendors that do not meet their commitments.
   
Another important step is to define the IHE profiles that you want right away. Essentially you need priorities that indicate a timeline for when you want to implement IHE, and again, that lock your vendors into the process. Also, a facility should plan for the future by considering what future profiles and domains could benefit from IHE and allow for flexibility to include them later on, said Jeff T. Ganiban, JD, a partner with Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP.

Caniban also suggested that larger enterprises create a test IHE environment to understand how the system will interoperate before the real implementation begins.