Q&A: What to look for at the Interoperability Showcase
HIMSS11 is just a month away, and CMIOs who plan to attend should put the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase on their itinerary. The 2011 showcase will feature more participants and real-world connectivity demonstrations, and will be open more hours than in previous shows, said Lisa Spellman, MBA, senior director of informatics, and IHE staff liaison for HIMSS. Spellman recently spoke with CMIO about some of the highlights planned for the Interoperability Showcase and beyond.

What will Interoperability Showcase attendees will see?

Attendees will have multiple opportunities to see how connected interoperable healthcare is used today and how they could apply these examples and solutions to help them on their interoperability journey.

Certainly, meaningful use and quality reporting will be major topics, and how IHE [Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise] efforts and others can help providers meet those goals. CMIOs are big on the “I” part of that.

Look for:
  • A slate of ONC programming: The Office of the National Coordinator has partnered with HIMSS across the conference, [and this year] 5,000 feet of showcase area are just for ONC federally sponsored and federal engagement programs, [including the] Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) project. Not everything that ONC is showing is IHE-based. It’s called the Interoperability Showcase because we’re trying to be a one-stop venue for [all] standards-based interoperability projects.
  • Health IT Project: The Social Security Administration’s Mega Health IT project for increasing rate of review and acceptance for collection of disability claims from care providers.
  • Thematic tours: Use cases used to be more on the ideal setting. This year, we’re switching to organizing tours around real-world communities of care: inpatient, ambulatory, home-based care, and HIE. So, for example, CMIOs can look at exchanges between hospitals and an HIE or acute care setting; they won’t have to go on a tour that’s [about] something they don’t have to deal with.

What about the Life Exchange demonstrations?

We’re really excited about this one. We’re going to be showing demonstrations of organizations that have successfully deployed interoperable standards-based systems. In the past, we’d talk about the use cases and have some examples. We’ll still have those this year, but we’re also going to have a couple who are actually using the interoperable standards-based systems, and we’ll have a separate theater for those.

So, for example, a CMIO could see a Community of Care for a hospital acute care, but they could also see a system that’s up and running, with representatives from that hospital actually talking about what they’re doing.

How many of these real-world demonstrations will there be? We’re hoping to have three or four; we’re trying to figure out the right number. We’re aiming for across the spectrum of care delivery. I expect a couple of hospital provider organizations because they’ve been doing it for so long [and] probably an HIE. I hope to have some [sources] in the ambulatory space.

What IHE-specific efforts are worth watching?
  • Launch of IHE USA. We launched IHE USA last year; now we have a formal arm within the U.S. to articulate and advocate on behalf of IHE. We’re working closely with ONC, CDC, ACP, and many other agencies and organizations to serve as a voice in the U.S. to help foster the uptake of standards-based interoperability.
  • Explosion in IHE membership: When I started at HIMSS about three years ago, there were more than 110 organizations that were IHE members. In just two years, we’ve grown to nearly 400 IHE International members worldwide including agencies, educational institutions, other partner healthcare and IT associations, vendors and more that have signed on.
  • Private-public sector integration. We’re working closely with [NHIN Direct and Connect] initiatives that use a range of solutions including IHE profiles to help make standards and harmonization happen in various models across the U.S.

For example, one of the IHE transport profiles, Cross Community Access (XCA), is in use supporting the exchange of health information and documents across communities and is being implemented in the Nationwide Health Information Network and various regional HIEs in the U.S. and globally.

We're also working with a group called Continua, [which is working on] standards harmonization, safety and other issues for home-based medical devices, because information may need to go from hospital to family practitioner, [or] from a medical device to the family physician, but maybe also back to the hospital.

Technology had enabled all this information sharing, but how do we make sure it’s all harmonized? IHE is working with organizations like Continua to expand the linear ability to exchange data.