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 such as DICOM and HL7 to address specific clinical needs in support of optimal patient care. Systems developed in accordance with IHE communicate with one another better, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively.
Matthias Frohner, Project Supervisor HealthConnect
IHE development activities are organized in domains. Each domain is covered by a Technical Framework specifying several Profiles, which organize and leverage the integration of health-related information by coordinated implementation of communication standards, as described in the IHE Wiki. See also in the IHE Europe Frequently Asked Questions: “How does the IHE process work?”
A Technical Framework is composed of a set of documents, which are annually reviewed and published by technical committees according the annual cycles of IHE. New or adapted/corrected profiles are published or republished for trial implementation according to the IHE testing processes. In case of meeting successful testing criteria, the profile is then published as final text and integrated in the domain’s technical framework. IHE provides a structured process of testing for vendors adopting IHE profiles in their products or ganized around the Connectathon and Conformity Assessment. The Connectathon is a testing event for coordinated no-peer and peer-to-peer testing for vendors implementing IHE profiles in their products to enable adoption of standards-based interoperability. Monitors are technical IHE-recruited specialists observing and evaluating the performed tests under the oversight of of the IHE test management. After successful testing at the Connectathon, a vendor becomes listed in the official Connectrathon results database for the profiles actors’ combinations successfully tested.
Vendors are also offered the ability to register an IHE Integration Statement for one or more versions of its software product, for which the vendor claims implementation of one or more IHE profiles.For buyers that may not trust the claims made by the vendors for a specific product version, IHE International offers a world-wide recognized Conformity Assessment Test Report. IHE Authorized Testing Laboratories (accredited according to ISO/CEI 17025) can assess the conformity of vendors’ products with selected IHE profiles and generate a formal test reports.
Stefan Sauermann, Program Director “Master Medical Engineering & eHealth”
IHE offers a large variety of artefacts to be used by the community. On the IHE homepage the technical frameworks are available as the main source of information for those who plan and implement IT systems in healthcare. Additionally, on the IHE Google Docs site there are development materials and educational materials. In the Connectathon result matrix one can research which company has tested which profile at which Connectathon. This enables to identify companies who are actively engaging in IHE, and to see which profiles are used over time. The IHE Conformity Assessment testing reports of a specific product show to which IHE profiles this product conforms, as tested in an accredited CAS testing laboratory.
Philipp Urbauer, Coordinator Research Focus “Secure Services, eHealth & Mobility”
IT systems communication using IHE profiles is based on several standards from HL7, DICOM or other SDOs. These standards define requirements from syntactical and semantical point of view to share information. Therefore, a basic understanding of the differences between HL7 V2, HL7 V3, HL7 CDA, HL7 FHIR and DICOM is necessary to understand the technical environment of selected IHE profiles. These standards leverage base technologies like HTTP, XML, JSON, SOAP and RESTful architecture to a high degree, which requires knowledge of the basic concepts. Promoting semantic interoperability includes the application of code-lists and value-sets, and therefore knowledge of code-lists like SNOMED-CT, LOINC or ICD and its application, based on examples for HL7 V2, HL7 V3/CDA, DICOM and HL7 FHIR, is necessary. Implementation of IT solutions requires the coverage of Security & Privacy needs and IHE provides several profiles to cover basic requirements. A general overview about the most prominent Security & Privacy profiles shall be given. Knowledge of the top ten tested profiles on the level of Vol. 1, shall prove a general knowledge and understanding of IHE profiles and its application.
Acceleration of health information exchange deployments is important to foster the integration of interoperable IT solutions. On a European level, substantial efforts have been undertaken in the EU Antilope project to define interoperability use cases based on profiles and standards. Due to the definition of common requirements, manufacturers can align their products to these common requirements, which reduces efforts in customization. Additionally, IHE supports testing of project-specific deployment specifications, based on IHE Profiles. This can be done in terms of so called Projectathons. The aim of this section is to understand and raise awareness of processes and tools which support efficient project deployments.
“Appendix D: Glossary” is part of the general introduction to the content of IHE profiles, see the IHE Homepage on the Technical Frameworks page under “General Introduction and Shared Appendices”. This glossary is updated regularly as part of the IHE Development activities.
IHE Europe also provides a glossary.
Find details (e.g. registration, exam fees) here.
The IHE Education Committee develops the IHE Certified Professional Program.
Key roles of contributing and/or performing of the IHE-CPP
IHE Education Committee Processes Document