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Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise International Expands and Forms Non-profit Corporation

For more information, contact
Joyce Lofstrom/HIMSS
312-915-9237 – jlofstrom@himss.org

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IHE International sees year of rapid growth, nears 300 member organizations.

CHICAGO – December 31, 2009) – Dedicated to improving patient care by promoting the adoption of standards-based and interoperable solutions for healthcare information systems, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE®) International took a major step in its evolution as an international organization in 2009 by becoming a non-profit corporation.

IHE International oversees the work of development committees in eleven clinical and operational domains. The committees create implementation specifications called IHE Profiles that use established standards to address key interoperability needs in healthcare IT. The number of IHE domain committees and the scope of their work have expanded steadily since the founding of the IHE initiative in 1997. To date, over 100 IHE Profiles are collected, published and made available at no cost in volumes called the IHE Technical Frameworks.

IHE Profiles are tested annually by hundreds of healthcare IT systems in testing events called Connectathons run by IHE national and regional deployment committees.  IHE Connectathons have been used by vendors to help develop interoperable HIT systems and by healthcare institutions and government-organized electronic health record programs around the world to design, test, acquire and implement such systems. IHE Profiles are an important element of the interoperability capabilities defined in the U.S. by the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) and were recognized in January 2009 as requirements for U.S. Federal procurement by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. These HITSP specifications are published and made available at no cost at www.HITSP.org.

IHE International, Incorporated was formed under Illinois law on September 10. The new organization is applying for recognition by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization. Previously, IHE International operated as an unincorporated multinational association. The policies and procedures of IHE International are described in the IHE Principles of Governance, initially ratified and published in October 2007.

The IHE International Board includes 22 voting members representing a broad cross-section of healthcare professionals, provider organizations, industry and others from around the world. Representatives are drawn from IHE domains and national deployment committees.  The co-chairs of the Board are David S. Mendelson, MD, Professor and Chief of Clinical Informatics at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and Elliot Sloane, PhD, Professor of Health Systems Engineering at the Drexel University School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems in Philadelphia. The Secretariat is provided by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the Radiological Society of North America.

IHE member organizations are able to designate representatives to participate in IHE domain committees. The current IHE domains include:

•    Anatomic Pathology
•    Cardiology
•    Eye Care
•    IT Infrastructure
•    Laboratory
•    Patient Care Coordination
•    Patient Care Devices
•    Pharmacy
•    Quality, Research and Public Health
•    Radiation Oncology
•    Radiology

New domains in the first stages of forming include Dentistry, Endoscopy, and Surgery.

IHE national deployment organizations have been established in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA. Regional deployment organizations are active in Europe and North America. IHE USA will follow IHE International in becoming an incorporated entity in early 2010.

Information about joining IHE International and participating on IHE domain committees can be found at www.ihe.net/participation/.

About IHE
IHE (www.ihe.net) is a global initiative, now in its ninth year, that creates the framework for passing vital health information seamlessly – from application to application, system to system, and setting to setting – across multiple healthcare enterprises. IHE brings together health information technology stakeholders to implement standards for communicating patient information efficiently throughout and among healthcare enterprises by developing a framework of interoperability. Because of its proven process of collaboration, demonstration and real world implementation of interoperable solutions, IHE is in a unique position to significantly accelerate the process for defining, testing, and implementing standards-based interoperability among electronic health record systems.