HL7, IHE and EHRVA Join Forces in Interoperability Collaborative

In the burgeoning health information technology (HIT) market, HL7, IHE and EHRVA combine strengths to resolve the primary challenge of HIT adoption—achieving interoperability.

San Diego – (February 13, 2006) – In response to market forces that demand interoperable HIT systems,  Health Level Seven (HL7), Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendor Association (EHRVA)  have formed  an Interoperability Collaborative to focus their resources on selected interoperability projects.

With President Bush’s call this week for Congressional support of $169 million for HIT initiatives in the 2007 budget—and recent reports that healthcare providers’ spending on IT will increase to $39.5 billion by 2008 –  three key participants in achieving interoperability are committed to action.  The Interoperability Collaborative is based on the belief that the industry must agree on healthcare data exchange priorities, define a roadmap and establish the standards that enable real progress.

The Interoperability Collaborative was formed in February 2005 through an agreement among HL7, IHE and EHRVA.  Results to date include a Consensus Statement in Support of Standardization as well as support for launch of the IHE Patient Care Coordination Domain, which developed consensus on implementation of summary documents based on the HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA). The EHRVA Interoperability Roadmap, a technical framework, is currently under review by each organization and their members. The group’s activities also include educational outreach, Hurricane Katrina relief support projects and ongoing response to global needs for patient information management.

“We’re very pleased that our collaboration with HL7 and IHE is being formalized through the Interoperability Collaborative,” said Charlene Underwood, EHRVA Chairperson and Director, Government and Industry Relations for Siemens Medical Solutions. “Although vendors have long contributed to the work of both organizations, it’s more important than ever that all stakeholders – clinicians, vendors, provider organizations, and standards development organizations – are engaged in the effort to evolve standards toward real interoperability.”

“Developing standards in close cooperation with the implementer community strengthens the process and allows us to meet industry needs under a shorter timeline,” said Chuck Meyer, HL7 Board Chair. “We welcome the collaboration, feedback and support we receive from vendors in EHRVA and IHE. Each organization in the Interoperability Collaborative brings core strengths and unmatched experience that support our individual efforts and advance the ideals of the group.  In short, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

“The concept of interoperability is widely recognized as necessary to healthcare transformation,” said Joyce Sensmeier MS, RN, BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, who is vice president of informatics, at HIMSS “The Interoperability Collaborative’s intent is to accelerate the ability of information systems to work together on multiple levels to more rapidly advance efficient, effective delivery of healthcare.”

The Interoperability Collaborative also supports the work of the American Health Information Community (AHIC) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), in particular through participation on the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP), the Certification Commission on Health Information Technology (CCHIT) and national health information network (NHIN) prototypes. Interoperability Collaborative members are working together  during the  IHE Interoperability Showcase at the HIMSS Annual Conference in San Diego, February 12-16 to demonstrate capabilities that support the sharing of patient health information in a RHIO network.

About the Interoperability Collaborative

The Interoperability Collaborative was founded as a result of an agreement between HIMSS, HL7, IHE and EHRVA in February 2005 to accelerate interoperability by joining forces, where appropriate, to provide the industry with unified frameworks for progress. The Interoperability Collaborative will continue to grow in this spirit, acting as an alliance dedicated to enabling the exchange of national health information to increase the safety of patients and to reduce the costs of healthcare.  The Interoperability Collaborative encompasses healthcare information technology standards (HL7), standards adoption and implementation (IHE), as well as product delivery and tools for interoperability (EHRVA)

The Interoperability Collaborative involves, by extension of its members’ relationships, a broad scale of clinical and industry-based associations.

Media Contacts:

Jonathan Himlin, HL7 Director of Communication,
jhimlin@hl7.org or734-677-7777 x165

Joyce Lofstrom, Manager, Corporate Communications HIMSS, jlofstrom@himss.org or 312-915-9237

Julia Zarb, EHRVA Communications Liaison,
julia@zarbconsulting.com or 919-845-9100