ASIP Santé at the IHE North America Connectathon

Interopérabilité | 12 Apr 2013

The annual IHE North America Connectathon was held in Chicago between 28 January and 1 February. Just like the European version, the aim of the event is to test the capacity of health information systems to exchange data in real time using collaborative processes. ASIP Santé sent four employees to act as monitors, verifying the results of the interoperability tests carried out.
A large number of industry bodies that develop software and health information systems for the North American market attended the 14th IHE North America Connectathon held between 28 January and 1 February at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Launched in 1999, this annual gathering is the largest interoperability test in the entire health information systems industry.

The 2013 Connectathon brought together 96 organizations (industry bodies and institutions) and over 500 engineers in order to carry out nearly 4,000 data exchange tests in real time, involving 135 software products aimed at the North American market. 

Four interoperability experts from ASIP Santé’s technical and security division took part in the international meeting as monitors. The role of monitors is to oversee the interoperability tests that the industry bodies carry out between their products, and validate the results.

IHE International (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) is a non- profit standardization body in the field of e-health. It brings together international experts in order to create profiles for standards to enable healthcare data to be exchanged. These experts are split into committees covering different healthcare domains in which healthcare IT is involved.

ASIP Santé is working in collaboration with IHE International to define IHE profiles for standards to facilitate the digitalization, exchange and sharing of healthcare data (see also our article "ASIP Santé hosts the meetings of three IHE International standardization committees". In french).

The agency sponsors four IHE domains: IT infrastructure, patient care coordination, public health and laboratory. The experts from ASIP Santé’s technical and security division contribute to these four domains with one of them also acting as co-chair for the laboratory field. The agency also acts as a monitor/inspector during the annual test sessions known as “Connectathons” organized in North America and Europe.

IHE Connectathons are the only large-scale interoperability tests carried out in real time in the world of healthcare IT. They take place once a year in each major region where the IHE has a presence: North America, Europe, Australia, Japan, China and Korea.

These important meetings encourage each participant, whether a software publisher or developer, to ensure the interoperability of their systems with those of their peers. At the same time, the huge number of tests that are carried out and analyzed helps to refine the specifications of the profile in question. Connectathons offer a unique opportunity for software publishers to test the interconnectivity of their products with the products of their market peers in one fell swoop. The events thus drastically accelerate the integration test phase in the development cycle of interoperable software – a phase that would otherwise take months and cost a lot more if carried out via the end customer. The Europe Connectathon 2013, in which ASIP Santé will also be taking part, will be held in Istanbul from 15 to 19 April.

Furthermore, one of the ASIP Santé experts, who is co-chair of the laboratory domain, headed a laboratory committee meeting the week after the Connectathon at the College of American Pathologists in Deerfield, Chicago. The laboratory committee draws up profiles specifically for the laboratory domain, both in terms of processes (prescription, execution, samples, etc.) and content structuring. In particular, the XD-LAB profile, which defines the structure and semantics of digital laboratory reports, is part of the health information systems interoperability framework (CI-SIS) published by the agency (link above in french).

The agency chairs two meetings a year in this committee. The previous meeting took place in Paris last May.

Info video for the IHE North America Connectathon : 

Photo credits : IHE USA