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Putting Interoperability to the Test at IHE NA Connectathon

Last week I went to IHE North American (NA) Connectathon, the health IT industry’s largest face-to-face testing event. We used real-world data in real-time to test national and international interoperability standards.

It takes countless hours of preparation just to get to the Connectathon. We completed the typical product development and quality cycles, plus hours of testing beforehand, just to qualify for participation in the event. During the Connectathon we spend long hours testing interoperability between different vendor systems.

About 500 engineers and IT architects gathered at the IHE NA Connectathon in Chicago last week to test interoperability of solutions from Allscripts and other vendors.

Day 1 is always interesting as networks and configurations are not always as expected. Flexibility and patience were watch words for the day. Day 2 showed great progress, as always happens with Day 2, as all vendors seemed to have settled their network and configuration issues. Day 3 saw all vendors making great progress, and actually completing tests for verification faster than the monitors could evaluate the results.

Our interoperability focus at 2013 Connectathon 

Allscripts sent three systems to Connectathon this year:  Enterprise EHRTM 11.4.1, Professional EHRTM 13.0 and Sunrise Clinical ManagerTM 6.0. Much of our focus this year is on Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU 2) and Referral Workflow:

  • Consolidated CDA – the new specification of 9 Clinical Exchange Document formats. The Allscripts Community Library allows the EHR products to easily produce documents that meet the requirements for MU 2, according to the Consolidated CDA implementation guide.
  • Healthcare Provider Directory (HPD) – allows healthcare providers to find names and Direct addressing information for providers to whom they refer.  The Provider Directory Query enables them to find the information, regardless of whether or not it is an Allscripts-to-Allscripts referral.
  • Multi-document submission sets –allows many documents relating to the same referral or instance of care to be submitted together inside one envelope.
  • Cross-enterprise User Assertion (XUA) – allows one system to package and send claims about the currently logged-in user so other systems may make business decisions about the user’s level of access to data.  XUA is an important part of the Nationwide Healthcare Information Network (NwHIN), as well as the research and clinical trials domain for disease reporting, quality control and new drug studies.

Our Community Solutions group develops these profiles, plus the work on Consolidated CDA, which are available to all Allscripts applications. In addition to these new profiles, we also tested the typical community transactions.

Each year our systems have expanded the set of IHE Profiles to test, based upon the needs of the community to support interoperability. Because of our work on standards- based interoperability in past years, we can publish a Success Stories paper at the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase with references to live client implementations.

We will publish Connectathon results when they are available, and all applications will be publishing new IHE Integration Statements to the IHE Product Registry. On to the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase!  Be sure to visit us there.


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