IHE workshop lays interoperability foundation

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Attendees of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Participant Workshop in Rosemont, Ill., last month prepared for the 2006 IHE North American Connectathon in January, the Interoperability Showcase at the 2006 Annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition in February, and the 2006 American College of Cardiology (ACC) IHE Demonstration at the ACC Annual Conference in March. More than 55 companies and organizations representing 120 health information systems attendede the workshop - a 20 percent increase in participation from 2004.

During the meeting, the American National Standards Organization (ANSI) announced a collaborative effort to harmonize healthcare information technology standards, known as the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP). The announcement puts renewed focus on the importance of and need for interoperable electronic health records.

HIMSS will expand the demonstration of the benefits of interoperable health information exchange at HIMSS 2006 with the Interoperability Showcase structured as a fully functioning HIMSS Regional Health Information Infrastructure Organization (RHIO).  Participating vendors will integrate their EHR products and other IT systems, equipped with IHE profiles, to ensure the interoperable exchange of information across healthcare settings in the RHIO.  Currently, 39 vendor companies and organizations have signed on to be part of the showcase demonstration.