After an exhausting three days at HIMSS in Orlando I thought it to be a nice idea to share my thoughts on the IHE Interoperability booth at HIMSS, hoping that this may lead to an active discussion in this LinkedIn group, and hence learn from the different insights from different members.
As has been common in recent years the IHE Interoperability Showcase was phenomenal. In size the largest booth on the floor. Unfortunately evenly common was that it took quite a walk to get there since the IHE booth was at the very far end of the exhibition hall. A gently advice to HIMSS for next year is to place the IHE booth more centrally, allowing vendors to benefit from the traffic the showcase generates.
Anyway, unlike last year the demonstrations were much more linked to the clinical reality than I’ve seen in the past. Although I base my observations only on four demos that I’ve seen, the setup did mimic more realistically what we witness in our daily lives if we use healthcare services. The use-cases I followed where that of a young pregnant woman who had to deliver her baby early due to an accident, and one where a patient was referred to a hospital and diagnosed with cancer. The demonstrations nicely showed how the patient’s care record moved from one application to another traversing community boundaries, care settings and medical devices. Unlike previous years where you had to move from demo pod to demo pod, you somewhat felt you were standing in a hospitals or a physician practice.
However, without naming or blaming any individual or company it was still visible that not all applications were equally far with implementing the various IHE profiles. Here and there you still saw somewhat clunky user interfaces, but the overall result far out weighted these inconveniences. Kudos for all that made this happen.
One thing that still is an issue is that we (as IHE story tellers) need to do a better job in speaking the “language” of the (clinical) users. Too often IHE acronyms such as XCA, XDS and others left the audience bewildered and unable to link what they heard to the things they see and do in their daily routines. This still hinders the message we need to get across as visitors get lost and loose interest halfway through the demos.
One way I think we could and perhaps should do, is creating a stronger message explaining how IHE fits into the “war on interoperability” that seems to be ongoing in the US. Without trying to claim the role of a subject matter expert it appears to me that in the US too many interoperability initiatives are competing for the attention of the (clinical) users. Adding to that: there are still vendors that promote their proprietary interoperability tools as a better than those based on IHE. Hospitals and physicians have to deal with things like Meaningful Use and IDC-10 implementations while trying to keep their institutions and practices financially healthy. My humble conclusion is that we should try to do a better job emphasizing the value that IHE can bring to all of the above.
I am curious to find out what others from our LinkedIn group have to say.