IHE provides cardiologists with interoperability tools

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Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) – the multi-year initiative creating a framework for passing important health information across a healthcare enterprise and now focused on cardiology – is fast becoming a much relied upon mechanism for healthcare professionals in pursuit of interoperability. The ACC is just one organization that has put its support behind the IHE, others include the European Society of Cardiology, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, American Society of Echocardiography, The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography, and the Heart Rhythm Society.
   
The ACC’s support has been particularly important to the organization’s spread within cardiology circles. The IHE offered its ACC 2006 IHE Demonstration earlier this week at the annual meeting of ACC in Atlanta which included details regarding the organization’s 2006 Connectathon requirements and provided booth visitors with demonstrations they could take with them, along with important new white papers and other resources.
   
The most important thing to know about IHE as a resource, said Teri Sippel, Technology Project Manager, IHE Cardiology, is that it does your connectivity work for you, so you don’t have to. Cardiologists currently have a way they do work, but it is not necessarily the best way to work, she added.
   
The interesting thing about some cardiologists (but not all of course) is that they – perhaps due to incredibly full schedules which includes multi-tasking that would make many organized people’s heads spin – have a real lack of curiosity about IT systems and how they work.
   
“They want it to just work,” said Sippel. Thus, a cardiologist need do no more than simply point his or her IT people to the IHE because “we do interfacing and interoperability testing for them” as part of the organization’s Connectathon.
   
During the ACCA (American College of Cardiology Administrators) meeting there was a huge turnout, bigger perhaps than ever before. This is because these administrators are being tasked to accomplish interoperability at their enterprises.
   
At the IHE booth visitors gained access to a wealth of information, such as interoperability demonstrations as well as white papers, all of which was passed out on a CD which is absolutely chock full of things. The white papers include a range of topics such as how to perform ECGs or echo measurements, but also in topics such as “Purchasing Using IHE.” This white paper has the potential to grant users the information to save thousands upon thousands of work hours, along with a good deal of money, said Sippel. Essentially, IT people do not need to reinvent the wheel each time.
   
Another white paper includes a case study featuring Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, and details the process of making five cath labs interoperable. This is no small feat for a department that performs about 6,000 procedures annually, Sippel said.
   
If you were not able to participate in ACC06 but would still like to receive this information, the good news is that it will soon be posted to www.acc.org/IHE.htm. Or for other information visit www.IHE.net or email ihe@acc.org.