IHE General Introduction

8 IHE Technical Framework Development and Publication Process

Typically, IHE technical frameworks are maintained and expanded on an annual basis by each IHE domain’s technical committee. The development and maintenance process of the framework follows a number of principles to ensure stability of the specification so that both vendors and users may use it reliably in specifying, developing and acquiring systems with IHE integration capabilities.

The technical frameworks are expanded through incorporating supplements. Each supplement goes through three phases: public comment, trial implementation and final text. Change Proposals are used to document changes to either trial implementation supplements or to final text technical framework documents.

The publication process is explained in more detail below as well as in Figure 8-1.

  1. Each domain technical committee develops supplements to support new functionality that was identified by the IHE planning committees and then the technical committee issues the supplement(s) for public comment. The technical committee addresses all comments received during the public comment period and publishes an updated version of the supplements for trial implementation. This version of the specification is used by vendors in developing trial implementation software for annual IHE Connectathon testing events.
  2. The technical committee considers change proposals to the trial implementation version of the supplements, including those from implementers who participate in the Connectathon. After resolution of all change proposals, the supplement is re-published as “Trial Implementation”.
  3. Annually, supplements are reviewed for resolution of all change proposals and sufficient implementations and may reach the final text phase. All supplements that reach the final text phase are incorporated into the technical framework volumes.
  4. On an on-going basis, change proposals may still be submitted for potential incorporation into future versions of the technical framework volumes.

Figure 8-1: The Process of Developing and Maintaining the IHE Technical Framework

8.1 Archives

There are three different publication mechanisms that IHE supports today and each has their own archive method. Accessing (for implementation purposes) archived specifications is discouraged as the current published versions have improvements and corrections. All updates to the specifications are made following the IHE Governance. Most importantly, when a specification reaches Final Text, the IHE Governance forbids any breaking changes.

IHE International publishes content on www.ihe.net and profiles.ihe.net.

8.1.1 PDF content on www.ihe.net

The content published on www.ihe.net is in PDF format and archived on the Technical Framework Archives page. This includes PDF formatted supplements that are discoverable on the profiles.ihe.net.

8.1.2 HTML content on profiles.ihe.net

The content published on profiles.ihe.net is in HTML format and archived on the IHE GitHub publications repository as identified releases. Each identified release is indicated with the changes included in that release and can be downloaded as a zip or tar.gz file. These downloads fully replicate the content on the profiles.ihe.net at that time.

This archive method is the predominant method available with Final Text Technical Frameworks, White Papers, and Handbooks.

8.1.3 Implementation Guide (HTML) content on profiles.ihe.net

Some Implementation Guides are published using a format that contains the Publication (Version) History. These publications have a "Directory of published versions" link in a yellow box on the top of the page and a "Version History" link in the footer of the page. These links navigate to the Implementation Guide specific Publications (Version) History page that lists all versions with a link to each available version. The links are permanent links for that particular version.