HIMSS plays out interoperability

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Attendees at this year's HIMSS experienced first hand how interoperable electronic health record (EHR) systems can work in both acute and ambulatory settings at two interoperability showcases, the Cross-Enterprise and Ambulatory Care Interoperability Showcases.
   
The Ambulatory Care Showcase demonstrated interoperability across a variety of settings, including a large clinic, a small physician practice and the patient's home. Participants experienced the workings of IT applications in ambulatory care, as well as gained insight into why interoperability is critical for seamless workflow.
   
The "what if" scenario reflected what will happen once the nation moves toward a national health information network with medical records accessible on a secure basis to acute and ambulatory settings. Creating an interoperable national health information network in which clinical data can be shared by clinicians at the point of care became a national priority last year when President Bush appointed David Brailer, MD, PhD, as the national coordinator for health information technology.
   
The Cross-Enterprise Showcase highlighted five scenarios in which complex information systems interactions benefit from Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) integration profiles, and demonstrated some of the infrastructure necessary to fully exploit the IHE solutions. During the demonstrations, hospital information systems interacted with departmental systems, as well as image and ECG acquisition devices. Inpatient and outpatient HER systems shared documents among themselves and across the HIMSS regional health information organization (RHIO)
    
"For the first time, more than 40 vendors, providers, government agencies, and regional health information databases, and standards development organizations have collaborated to create RHIO across the HIMSS exhibit floor," said Joyce Sensmeier, RN, CPHIMS, and director of professional services for HIMSS.
   
"This interactive demonstration is a great opportunity for IT professionals whose systems, hospitals or clinics are thinking about investing in software for EHRs, but want to learn more about the nuts and bolts," said Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD, FHIMSS, and director of Ambulatory Care for HIMSS.