The Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) (@) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) (@) are launching several joint initiatives in 2017 that will focus on improving the ways health IT systems share information. The two organizations share the mission of improving interoperability and overseeing conformity testing and certification of products worldwide. IHE’s primary domain is in clinical healthcare settings and exchange of health information across enterprise, while PCHAlliance focuses on home and remote health settings.
“PCHAlliance and IHE share the same vision. That is, we believe that health information exchange is possible throughout the worldwide healthcare ecosystem and, together, we can support new innovations and create solutions to improve health outcomes, enhance understanding and help make big data possible,” said Michael Kirwan, vice president, Personal Connected Health Alliance. “We are looking forward to expanding our collaboration and working closely to further extend interoperability in healthcare.”
The transmission of healthcare-related data among facilities, health information organizations and government agencies according to international standards is an integral component of the health information technology (HIT) infrastructure worldwide. IHE’s Profiles and PCHAlliance’s Continua Design Guidelines are both standards-based, open specifications that have been designed to be deployed together, and ensure that device data — whether captured by the patient or in a care delivery setting — flows into electronic health records (EHR) in the same format and coded content.
Supporting their joint liaison agreement signed in 2016, IHE and PCHAlliance are implementing a three-pronged approach to continually improve and simplify interoperability. The organizations will further their collaboration on future IHE Profiles and Continua Design Guidelines development, to ensure the combined deployment of fully interoperable systems. The two groups will also collaborate on conformity testing and certification, aligning their respective tools and processes. Finally, PCHAlliance and IHE are committed to advancing communication, education and interoperability demonstrations to eliminate confusion among providers, vendors and standards bodies.
”IHE is very excited to partner with PCHAlliance in advancing the goal of standards-based interoperability,” said Michael McCoy, co-chair of the IHE International Board. “PCHAlliance brings a well-established culture of standards and testing in the device space that blends perfectly with IHE’s body of work, expanding the scope of connected HIT systems in this rapidly innovating area of healthcare.”
Continua Design Guidelines are recognized as an international standard for personal health systems through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the standards-setting body within the United Nations. The
Guidelines comprise a reference architecture, implementation tools and services that are developed based on currently accepted technology standards and specification such as Bluetooth Low Energy Technology specs, IEEE’s 11073 Personal Health Device Standards, IHE Patient Care Device PCD-01 Transaction, and the Health Level Seven International (HL7) Personal Health Monitoring Report (PHMR). Members of PCHAlliance have free access to comprehensive product test and certification tools and services.
IHE Profiles provide a common language for purchasers and vendors to meet the integration needs of healthcare sites and the integration capabilities of HIT products. They offer developers a clear implementation path for communication standards supported by industry partners that are carefully documented, reviewed and tested. IHE Profiles give purchasers a tool that reduces the complexity, cost and anxiety of implementing interoperable systems. They organize and leverage the integration capabilities that can be achieved by coordinated implementation of communication standards, such as DICOM, HL7, LOINC, SNOMED, IETF, W3C, OASIS and security standards. IHE Profiles provide precise definitions of how standards should be implemented to meet specific clinical needs, or use cases. IHE also provides the necessary testing infrastructure via structured testing events called IHE Connectathons held throughout the world, and use of test tools, test plans and formal conformity assessment programs executed by ISO/IEC 17025 accredited testing laboratories.
IHE is an initiative by healthcare professionals and industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information. IHE promotes the coordinated use of established standards to address specific clinical needs in support of optimal patient care. Systems developed in accordance with IHE Profiles communicate with one another better, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively. The IHE process and its profiles have been recognized by ISO, the European Commission and the US Interoperability Standards Advisory among other entities worldwide. The IHE testing discipline includes both developer test tools, Connectathons and conformity assessment programs, which are major contributions to delivering mature interoperability.
About the Personal Connected Health Alliance
The Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) aims to make health and wellness an effortless part of daily life. The PCHAlliance, a non-profit organization formed by HIMSS, believes that health is personal and extends beyond healthcare. The Alliance mobilizes a coalition of stakeholders to realize the full potential of personal connected health. PCHAlliance members are a vibrant ecosystem of technology and life sciences industry icons and innovative, early stage companies along with governments, academic institutions, and associations from around the world. To support its vision, PCHAlliance convenes the global personal connected health community at the annual Connected Health Conference, the premier international event for the exchange of research, evidence, ideas, innovations and opportunities in personal connected health. The Alliance publishes and promotes adoption of the Continua Design Guidelines. Continua is recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as the international standard for safe, secure, and reliable exchange of data to and from personal health devices. PCHAlliance accelerates technical, business, policy and social strategies necessary to advance personal connected health through its flagship Academy for Healthy Longevity to promote lifelong health and wellness.