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 identified by the IHE planning committees and 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