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IHE is an integration, not a barrier.

2017-07-01 Source: "World Medical Devices"


Author: Zhang Jiwu May 2007 published in the "World of Medical Devices" special issue published the first language (such as references to this article, please indicate the source, thank you.)



I have recently organized several IHE lectures, and I am quite rewarded. I feel strongly that it is necessary to have an obligation to contribute to the promotion of IHE in China. Therefore, some experts and teachers who are more active in the field are invited to write their understanding of IHE in their busy schedule. As a discussion of understanding IHE, this column of IHE has been formed.

IHE is an abbreviation of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, and there is currently no uniform name in China. IHE is not currently an organization, nor is it a standard, but an activity organized by its sponsors, such as the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the Society for Medical Information Management Systems (HIMSS). The event has been carried out very extensively and deeply in the international arena and has great influence.

IHE defines a number of Technical Profiles, each of which describes a specific healthcare workflow. If the standards such as HL7 and DICOM solve the interconnectivity problem between different vendors and different products, IHE solves the problem of interoperability.

IHE actually describes the medical workflow in engineering language. It summarizes and summarizes on the basis of summarizing the actual work processes of different hospitals. (The meaning of "generalization, summary description" in the original meaning of Profile) It is the result of joint efforts of many manufacturers and hospitals. It solves two problems: (1) The IHE system uses the engineering language to define a number of hospitals' common workflows. The hospital only determines its workflow, and the manufacturer follows the process, and its development results should be in line with the hospital's requirements; (2) IHE-compliant vendors should have participated in the IHE test. Generally speaking, if the Connectathon test is passed, there will be no problem of interoperability.

IHE is a long-term accumulation of a large amount of time and experience, and is also the result of a large amount of capital investment. The basic workflow is consistent across medical institutions around the world. For the differences between countries, IHE also allows to change and design some special profiles. Japan's IHE activities take such a model, they generally follow the requirements of IHE, and at the same time, according to the national conditions, some special requirements are designed to supplement, forming IHE-J, which is gradually matured into the mandatory requirements of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

At present, the trend of China's medical reform is regional synergy. In order to achieve this goal well, the promotion of IHE is of great significance. It can help us standardize the medical information products of various manufacturers, so that we do not need to be limited by one manufacturer or two manufacturers when applying.

Some experts are also worried that IHE will lead to monopoly payments. Because the Chinese people are deeply impressed by the cost of paying Qualcomm's CDMA standard and the cost of paying the price of individual manufacturers' DVDs for domestic DVD players, I am worried that IHE will become the same story. In fact, the examples of payment are due to the embedded patents in those standards. We implement the standards for embedded patents and must pay for the patents. The standards of medical health care we are talking about, such as DICOM, HL7 and IHE activities, are purely technical standards and are the result of long-term accumulation among different companies and users. There is no question of potential charges, and another set of stoves, the cycle is too long, the cost is too high, meaning little.

IHE is the accumulation of technology, an integrated summary description, not a technical barrier, nor a commercial barrier. We should vigorously promote IHE in China, which is the only way for medical informationization.