Life sciences become part of IHE focus

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Last week at the IHE Connectathon in Chicago, the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) ushered in a new focus area for the interoperability demonstration: life sciences. The focus is to foster connectivity between pharmaceutical companies and EHR vendors and provide the means for capturing patient data from the systems and delivering them to clinical research systems.

The demonstration at IHE involved some heavy hitters in the biopharmaceutical realm, such as Elly Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, and Genzyme, said Landen Bain, CDISC liaison to healthcare. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also was present because they are concerned with disease outbreak and the potential for such integration of systems to aid in that effort, he said.

CDISC functions as “somewhat of a franchise of IHE,” he said, and he views the work they are doing as a way to raise awareness in the industry regarding EHR tools that will be available down the road.

A big focus area for the consortium is testing what’s called the Retrieve Form for Data Capture (RFD), a system independent format that can be used by an EHR involved in clinical trials to capture data from electronic patient data. It is hoped that the RFD profile will help to improve research data quality as well as ease physician workflow in patient data capture, and monitoring patient health in an ongoing fashion.

The RFD profile was developed by IHE and will be the focus of a demonstration at HIMSS 2007 in New Orleans next month called New Directions Life Sciences demonstration.