IHE International Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Like every organization involved in healthcare, and indeed as all citizens around the globe, IHE International’s leadership has been closely monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus as it has become a declared global pandemic.
IHE International has taken measures consistent with the guidance of the WHO and national health authorities regarding travel and public meetings. This includes postponement of the IHE-Europe Connectathon and IHE World Summit, originally scheduled for March 23-27 in Brussels, until November 2020. We are also evaluating our approach to upcoming standards development meetings, and will take steps to ensure that our community is not exposed to any unnecessary health risks.
IHE is dedicated to making healthcare interoperable. Our IHE interoperability specifications are freely available artifacts that support health data sharing to improve patient care and to better inform health system management. We will strive to help countries leverage digital health infrastructure that is already in place to address the urgent challenges posed by the pandemic.
In addition, IHE will continue its collaboration with partner standards bodies in the Joint Initiatives Council (JIC), including HL7, ISO and SNOMED, and consider ways to expedite new interoperability specifications that may help address the current crisis.
IHE International is also evaluating specific new efforts that we may pursue during this time of crisis. IHE has an established record of providing testing services for digital health networks, which we will continue to expand. And we will continue to update the community regarding relevant expertise and assistance we can provide.
On behalf of the IHE International Board, we urge everyone to follow the guidance of their local health authorities, taking prudent steps to stay healthy and avoid contagion.
Michael J. McCoy, MD
Co-chairs, IHE International Board
David S. Mendelson, MD