Members in Action: Erin Sparnon

Engineering manager
ECRI Institute

Erin Sparnon, engineering manager at ECRI Institute, is the 2014 ACCE-HIMSS Excellence in Clinical Information Technology Synergies Award recipient. 

: Please describe your current involvement with IHE USA at the IHE NA Connectathon Week and HIMSS.
Sparnon: I am speaking at the IHE Connectathon Leadership Conference, covering the patient safety aspects of medical device integration. ECRI has collected lessons learned from  our members who report  their successes and challenges, and we’re glad to share their stories. At HIMSS, I look forward to bringing my colleagues to the showcase and catching up with my supplier friends on which of their commercially released products support patient care device (PCD) profiles.

HIMSS: What do you hope to accomplish during this year’s IHE NA Connectathon Week?
Sparnon: I hope to (1) receive thoughtful questions on my presentation, (2) cheer on my colleague Priyanka Shah, who’s serving her first term as a Connectathon monitor and just starting to appreciate the complexity of HL7, and (3) monitor any changes in the drop-in request-for-purchase (RFP) language for medical device integration that I developed with the patient care devices (PCD) domain a few years ago; so I can update ECRI’s RFP templates. By placing language in ECRI’s RFP templates that specifies conformance to relevant IHE Profiles, our member hospitals can require standards-based interoperability in the medical devices and systems they are purchasing.

HIMSS: How do you think the outcomes of the IHE NA Connectathon Week will impact your experience at HIMSS16?
Sparnon: Successful Connectathon results will help me narrow the list of device vendors to visit at HIMSS… especially if they are coupled with conformance statements for their commercially available products, meaning that ECRI-member hospitals can buy them.

HIMSS: What is the most exciting change that you foresee happening in health IT interoperability in 2016? In the next five years?
Sparnon: In 2016, I think adoption of medical device integration will continue to grow, and we can learn more about the best ways to plan, design, and implement integration.  In particular, I’m seeing more hospitals ask about risk management and security management (e.g., wireless security, cybersecurity) for integrated systems, so I think the work of cross-department groups, like the CE-IT community, will be very important. 

In five years, I’d love to see more hospitals requiring a standards-based approach to medical device integration when they make a purchase; more commercially available enterprise systems that conform to IHE Profiles; and reduced barriers to switching suppliers for big-ticket technologies, like enterprise systems, alarm management solutions, physiologic monitoring, and infusion pumps.

HIMSS: What is one of the primary challenges facing healthcare leaders today?
Sparnon: Navigating so many competing demands for people, time, and money to provide safe and effective patient care in a resource-constrained environment.

Learn more about the IHE North American Connectathon Week.

Learn more about HIMSS16.