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HIMSS Interoperability Showcase Features Insight into IHE, HL7 Collaboration

IHE and HL7 are at the forefront of healthcare interoperability. During the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase – held March 6 to March 8 – Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, Vice President of Informatics with HIMSS, and Wayne Kubick, MBA, Chief Technology Officer with HL7, gave a presentation detailing the ways IHE and HL7 are working together to advance interoperability.

The presentation began with an overview of the goals shared between IHE and HL7. Both organizations strive to find a way for people to easily access healthcare information anywhere, anytime. Both organizations work toward that goal by creating standards and resources (IHE Profiles and HL7 accredited standards processes) that are used across the world. IHE’s domains and technical/planning committees and HL7’s work groups and steering committees also play a key role in supporting both organizations’ common mission.

“HL7 and IHE already share common visions and missions — this enhanced collaboration will synergize our efforts toward making high quality, standardized health information more accessible and usable for the ultimate benefit of all patients and caregivers,” says Kubick.

IHE and HL7 also collaborate through annual Connectathons. IHE hosts the annual IHE USA, Europe, and Asia Connectathons, while HL7 hosts three annual FHIR Connectathons. These events give vendors and stakeholders an environment to test their products using IHE Profiles and HL7 standards.

IHE and HL7 are also collaborating with HIMSS on the Joint HL7-IHE Cancer Staging Project, which will take place at IHE and HL7 Connectathons. The IHE Patient Care Coordination (PCC) domain and the Health Care Devices, Image Integration, and CIMI HL7 work groups will work together to create a tangible interoperability solution. The organizations plan to release a joint publication on the project this year.

Sensmeier and Kubick elaborated on project goals, including:

  • Integrating FHIR test scripts and tools with IHE Gazelle
  • Demonstrating how to use FHIR IG Publisher
  • Showing how IHE testing and validation could benefit HL7 workgroups
  • Demonstrating how HL7 FHIR terminology services and value set tooling could help support IHE Profiles

The Joint HL7-IHE Cancer Staging Project is just one way the two organizations are working together. IHE and HL7 will continue to pool their expertise and find new ways to advance toward a world of interoperable healthcare.

“IHE and HL7 have been working together for decades to advance interoperability. But by establishing closer alignment, we can help the industry cross the finish line more rapidly,” says Sensmeier.