Optimal patient care requires that you and your patients be able to create, manage and access comprehensive electronic health records (EHRs) efficiently and securely. Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) improves the way healthcare systems communicate with one another and accelerates the adoption of EHRs.
IHE brings together users and developers of healthcare information technology (HIT) in an annually recurring four-step process:
You can then purchase these systems, knowing that the IHE compliance means easier integration and more effective communication across the spectrum of care—ultimately resulting in a more efficient workplace and improved patient care.
Vendors adopt IHE Profiles defined in IHE Technical Frameworks and then test their systems at an annual IHE Connectathon. They can then publish Integration Statements in the IHE Product Registry to inform the marketplace about the IHE capabilities of their commercial products.
Purchasers of IT systems can browse the Product Registry to find companies that have successfully tested and implemented IHE capabilities in commercially-available systems. They can use the IHE Technical Frameworks as a basis for adopting standards-based open systems architecture to exchange medical information in common formats. They can specify compliance with IHE profiles as a requirement when indicating their institutions' specifications for purchasing healthcare IT systems. User handbooks are available for radiology and the mammography subspecialty to help in implementing integrated systems.
IHE committees work to address interoperability in a variety of clinical domains:
These committees work in annual cycles to expand the capabilities addressed by IHE Profiles.
More than 500 member organizations—professional societies, government agencies, provider organizations, HIT companies and others—have joined the IHE initiative worldwide.
When shopping for solutions for your institution, look for products that comply with IHE profiles. You can also attend a Connectathon to learn more about the compliance testing process and the governance of the IHE movement. Connectathon events include presentations and overviews for the general public, and guided tour of the testing floor.
If you are a clinical or technical domain expert, become a leader in this work by participating in IHE domain committees or reviewing the documents they publish for public comment. Find out more at ihe.net or by contacting the domain secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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