News Release

Interoperability is Advanced through Collaboration during IHE Connectathon Week

February 5, 2016


The spirit of collaboration to improve patient care through high quality, interoperable health information technology (IT) was in the air in Cleveland, Ohio when the IHE North American Connectathon Week 2016 kicked off on January 25 at the co-located facilities of the Cleveland Convention Center, the Global Center for Health Innovation, and the HIMSS Innovation Center. Over 142 organizations and 600 health IT professionals attended the events during this important week. 

For the first time, the IHE NA Connectathon included a week of training, education, and networking events, including an interoperability awards ceremony honoring vendors of ConCert by HIMSS™ certified products. Education and training opportunities were customized to meet attendees’ various backgrounds, experience and skill levels. Participants attended educational sessions that equipped them to achieve interoperability in their own environments, with hands-on advice from accomplished experts.

The IHE NA Connectathon’s testing event remains the corner stone of the entire week uniting health IT companies and government entities to test the interoperability of their systems. This event accelerates the development and deployment of interoperable systems that include IHE Profiles and other world class standards like HL7® FHIR® and Consolidated-CDA®. “Speaking with the participants of the IHE North American Connectathon 2016 reminded me of why this event is so important. Vendors highly value the ability to test the connectivity of their systems with their partners in a high-tech, neutral setting. The process and testing infrastructure that we have refined over decades and the expertise and technical support that is provided, all come together to enable that value. Bottom line: the IHE Connectathon is a world class venue for normally competing companies to work together to improve the quality and interoperability of their health IT systems,” said Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, president, IHE USA.

“ECRI’s member hospitals are investing in medical device integration to get the right information from medical devices into patient records quickly and efficiently. IHE’s North American Connectathon testing activities help participating vendors get smarter about integration in a unique learning environment, and published testing results help our member hospitals find products that support a standards-based approach to integration,” said Erin Sparnon, MEng, Engineering Manager, Health Devices, ECRI Institute, and IHE Connectathon Leadership Conference speaker.

This year's IHE North American Connectathon testing event included:

  • 82 participating organizations
  • 124 health IT systems tested by;
  • 467 on-site participants and 532 registered attendees; with
  • 21% international attendance.

The Path Forward - Industry Collaboration: Hundreds of organizations and vendors came together last week, to encourage and expand alignment to advance interoperability and patient care.

  • Standards development: IHE Profiles leveraging HL7 FHIR® resources were tested at the IHE NA Connectathon to securely share patient data on mobile devices.
  • Certification Awards: ConCert by HIMSSTM announced the successful completion of pilot testing and certification with four new certified products. Learn more.
  • Government and Private/Public Sector: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and Utah Department of Health, as well as public and private sector organizations, collaborated to test IHE Profiles.
  • HIMSS Interoperability Showcase™ in collaboration with IHE: 61 vendors who passed the testing event will promote their success at the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase during HIMSS16 Annual Conference & Exhibition, demonstrating over 72 health IT systems in a variety of clinical scenarios.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recently cited IHE Profiles and the IHE North American Connectathon as critical components to enable interoperability in both the Interoperability Roadmap and 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory. Dr. Michael J. McCoy, MD, FACOG and former Chief Information Officer for ONC was the keynote for the IHE NA Connectathon Leadership Conference and affirmed the importance of IHE to enable a connected health IT ecosystem in the U.S. .

Read additional HIMSS Blog posts on the IHE North American Connectathon Week 2016.

It Was the Place to Be… In Case You Missed It
Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN Vice President Informatics, HIMSS North America, IHE USA President

#EmpowerHIT at IHE North American Connectathon Week 2016

Re-Engineering Healthcare by Connecting Patient Data
Elliot Sloane, PhD, FHIMSS, President and Founder at the Center for Healthcare Information Research and Policy (CHIRP), Co-Chair, IHE International

About IHE USA
IHE USA (www.iheusa.org) is a 501.c.3 not for profit founded in 2010. Its vision is to improve the quality, value, and safety of healthcare by enabling rapid, scalable, and secure access to health information at the point of care. IHE USA operates as a national deployment committee of IHE International in order to advance its mission to improve U.S. healthcare by promoting the adoption and use of IHE and other world-class standards, tools, and services for interoperability. IHE USA engages all levels of public and private sector participants to test, implement, and use standards-based solutions for all health information needs.

Media Contact: Kelly Wagner kwagner@himss.org 312-915-9502

Posted Under: Interoperability & Standards, Health Information Exchange