What is IHE-Europe
Health IT users, national programs and vendor associations initiated IHE-Europe and today fund its activities.
Patients are the winners
The seamless flow of health information between the different healthcare systems across Europe brings tremendous benefits to patients, as well as the doctors and nurses providing vital care.
IHE-Europe is dedicated to interoperability in health information technology. It begins with an open process of developing integration profiles to assure IT systems can talk to each other. Then it requires testing these systems to verify that complex computer coding delivers the data. Finally, IHE-Europe actively promotes wider awareness and use of these methods for assuring continued conformance and compatibility.
IHE integration and content profiles have been adopted by national and regional projects in countries such as Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and considered by several others. These specifications provide the guidance necessary to implement specific standards and profiles in commercial and self-developed systems that will help realize efforts towards large scale interoperability of health information in Europe.
Activities of IHE in Europe
* IHE-Europe develops workflow descriptions and associated integration and content profiles in specific healthcare domains based on user requirements as well as the testing software (Gazelle tools) required to support vendors in developing interoperability.
* IHE-Europe organizes live interoperability testing between vendors at the annual European Connectathon, as well as follow-on live interoperability demonstrations. IHE-Europe has a permanent technical team that contributes to developing testing software (Gazelle tools) and provides an independent oversight body to publish the participating vendors Connectathon results.
* IHE-Europe’s core activities also include education and promotional activities, such as publishing interoperability Success Stories for creating awareness and encouraging utilisation of IHE integration profiles.
* Serving as a voice for European interests, IHE-Europe coordinates IHE development worldwide with IHE initiatives for North America, Asia and Oceana in the international IHE organizational structure as well as close collaboration with Standards Development Organizations (ISO, HL7, CEN, DICOM, etc) and other profiling organizations such as the Continua Health Alliance that is leveraging IHE profiles.
* Finally, IHE-Europe offers a unique suite of tools and services to hospitals, regional and national eHealth networks as well as vendors through its dedicated operational branch IHE-Services.
IHE-Europe plays a vital role
Europe is famously diverse and the different approaches taken by Member States in implementing health IT reflect this rich diversity. IHE-Europe plays a vital role by coordinating shared efforts among national initiatives and maintaining regular communications with Member States.
The open organizational structure of IHE-Europe also enables manufacturers to develop and market products for European customers with only minor variations to reflect national preferences.
By gathering key leaders and actors for health IT in Europe, the association is able to coordinate activities and development with IHE North America and IHE Asia and Oceania. IHE-Europe is an active participant to the international Strategic Development Committee, the broadest oversight body of IHE-International, that oversees adherence to goals and guidelines, communication and coordination among domain committees and harmonizes diverse national and regional initiatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Driven by national and regional initiatives, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise has grown worldwide to steadily improve interoperability and integration.
The national focus for IHE is especially important in Europe due to the nature of the healthcare environment. National IHE initiatives have developed in a growing number of European countries, and these initiatives coordinate their activities at the European level within the association IHE-Europe aisbl.
IHE-Europe has developed responses to frequently asked questions about IHE and its processes, which are now available as a PDF document for download:
If you have additional questions about IHE or IHE-Europe, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Glossary of Terms
IHE-Europe Internal Rules are available on request to email@example.com