October 22, 2008 - The Society for Imaging Informatics in
Medicine (SIIM), a sponsoring organization of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), hosted the first-ever IHE referee training session at its headquarters in Leesburg, VA, on September 29, 2008.
The session, held in conjunction with the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), trained imaging informatics professionals to participate as monitors for the upcoming IHE North America Connectathon to be held February 23-27, 2009, in Chicago. The Connectathon is the healthcare IT industry’s only large-scale interoperability testing event - a cooperative engineering event that brings together approximately 75 vendors, 300 engineers, and 45 monitors. Profiles from 10 IHE domains will be tested by 145 systems at the week-long Connectathon.
The recent training session will serve as a prototype for future IHE referee training sessions and is the most extensive education effort so far. SIIM provided 10 training scholarships to SIIM members to support their attendance at the training session. The session provided invaluable tools and experience for the trainees to learn to "ride the bicycle" of interoperability and to take this experience back to their own facilities.
Having trained referees benefits the IHE initiative because they give clinical perspective and relevance to the IHE process and help bridge the gap to the real world. Vendors also receive more effective feedback during the Connectathon by working with a trained group of monitors.
Paul Nagy, director of Informatics Research at the University of Maryland who spearheaded the training session, described similarities between the IHE and SIIM: "SIIM is defining a profession for informaticists in medicine with its necessary competencies and skills. IHE's standard-based framework is providing a blueprint on how to integrate all clinical information systems, making them more transparent and patient centered. Together, both IHE and
SIIM are organizations transforming health care."
IHE sponsoring organizations support the testing process and test tools development, organize demonstrations and educational events, and promote IHE's mission and activities. Sponsors of IHE, such as SIIM, play an active role in improving patient care by advancing interoperability and efficient exchange of relevant information.