Swan song for Connectathon in Windy City
November 11, 2013 in Medical Technology
Anticipation about the IHE North American Connectathon’s move to Cleveland in 2015 is running high among the event’s organizers, though they insist that they are not looking past their final year in Chicago Jan. 27-31, 2014.
In fact, there are many reasons for excitement at the Windy City event, namely the rollout of the New Directions testing track, designed for testing of innovative health IT applications still in development. Testing services offered in the New Directions track will be sponsored by the IHE USA’s partnering organizations in the healthcare IT industry.
As a result, the Connectathon has expanded to include three offerings — the Connectathon Classic, which consists of traditional testing; the IHE USA Certification track, now in its second year; and the New Directions track.
“This program will provide a collaborative and flexible environment for industry groups to come together and test new and innovative approaches to interoperability,” said Michael Nusbaum, New Directions program manager.
“Each cohort will connect to the Connectathon infrastructure, but will operate independently with their own organization and vendor participants, and managed by their own project managers. Participants in this track will be helping to define future interoperability technologies and techniques that will benefit the HIT industry as a whole next year and beyond.”
Alexander Lippitt Jr., senior director of standards and interoperability at HIMSS, adds that “the New Directions program picks up the gap between conception and regulation and there is a lot of discipline that goes into it.”
[See also:Interoperability in its ‘last mile’?.]
Among the initiatives that coalesce with New Directions are the HIMSS Health Story Project, Continua’s Plugfest, ONC’s SI Framework Health eDecisions and the Canada Health Infoway.
Another high point is the Connectathon Conference on Jan. 29 , featuring keynote speaker Doug Fridsma, PhD, chief science officer and director of the Office of Science and Technology for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. At ONC, Fridsma is responsible for all programs that are focused on providing a foundation for interoperable health information exchange.
“Dr. Fridsma is very much on board with what we’re doing – he understands the value of IHE,” said Joyce Sensmeier, IHE USA President and HIMSS vice president of informatics.
Over the years Sensmeier has seen the Connectathon grow from an experimental exercise to a multi-faceted program that serves as the bellwether for healthcare interoperability on a global scale.