IHE General Introduction

1 IHE Overview

Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) is an international initiative driven by healthcare professionals and industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information. IHE promotes the coordinated use of established standards (both healthcare and general IT) 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.

IHE is organized by clinical and operational domains. Examples of IHE Domains include clinical specialty areas such as Radiology, Cardiology and Eye Care, as well as operational areas such as IT Infrastructure and Patient Care Coordination. Each domain consists of a planning committee, whose primary tasks are identifying the important interoperability problems to be addressed, long-term scope planning and supporting deployment activities; and a technical committee, whose primary task is developing and documenting the standards-based solutions to the interoperability problems identified by the planning committee.

A key part of the IHE development process is regularly scheduled testing events called Connectathons. These events provide a hands-on forum for vendors and developers to test their implementations of the IHE specifications and verify interoperability with other vendors’ implementations.

General information about IHE, including its governance structure, sponsorship, member organizations and work processes, is available at https://www.ihe.net. There are different methods of participation in IHE ranging from committee membership and public comment review to webinar and presentation introductions and updates. These methods are described at https://www.ihe.net/Participate.

Information on the activities of each of the IHE domain committees, including their committee rosters, annual cycle dates and how to participate, is available at https://wiki.ihe.net/index.php?title=Domains.