14 March 2010

IHE - Information Integration in Healthcare. What can other industries learn from their experiences?

I'm currently doing research related to an electronic health records solution and I'm looking at the IHE initiative to integrate the healthcare enterprise. As I go through the processes, profiles and frameworks the problems that the healthcare industry are trying to resolve are very similar to other industries that I have worked with but the approach to integration seems more pragmatic than I have experienced elsewhere.

The frameworks look at sharing of information where there are multiple standards for information exchange as well as terminology. The proposed solutions do not put all the eggs in the "single standard" utopia. To quote one of the presentations on the IHE website:
"IHE provides a standard process for implementing multiple standardsimplementing standards"

The process looks at the realities of working in an environment with multiple authorities across regions (state/provincial, national) each with their own systems (electronic and paper) and their own political pressures around provision of service, privacy and managing costs.

It's an interesting problem space with much different drivers than integration in the financial sector or other largely commercial industries. I look forward to going through the lessons learned and the plans for the future.