HL7 and IHE Renew Cooperation Agreement to Advance Interoperability

Health Level Seven® International (HL7®) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), citing a long history of successful collaboration, announced last week they have renewed their cooperation agreement to advance the goal of interoperability of health information.

RSNA is a co-founder of IHE and also sponsors the IHE Radiology and IHE Quality, Research and Public Health domains.

The joint statement of understanding provides for improved communication and coordination of schedules and projects to help expedite the development and adoption of the HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard. IHE committees and participants provide frequent feedback based on IHE implementation and testing experience to relevant HL7 work groups. HL7 and IHE collaborate on testing events and public demonstrations. Additionally, many stakeholders in health IT participate in both organizations.

IHE profiles describe specific clinical and operational interoperability use cases and document an implementation of existing standards to address them. They incorporate standards from many different standards organizations, including HL7, W3C, DICOM, CDISC, IEEE and others.

As a platform specification, FHIR is used in many different contexts in healthcare. FHIR profiles adapt the standard for specific uses and localizations, defining the resource elements and extensions, API features, terminologies and conformance rules for targeted implementation guides (IGs). HL7 intends for implementer communities, including IHE, to use the FHIR platform to create other IGs that use FHIR.

IHE committees have already published several profiles that reference FHIR, such as the IHE Mobile Access to Health Documents (MHD) profile that extends health information exchange to mobile platforms. The MHD profile builds on the widely adopted IHE Cross-enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) profile for exchanging medical documents (notably documents based on the HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA®) standards).

Similarly, to foster the rapid evolution and adoption of FHIR, HL7 FHIR connectathons visibly assess the readiness of FHIR resources, profiles and IGs among multiple stakeholders. One key innovation of the FHIR standard is its rapid development cycles, and FHIR connectathons are a prerequisite for resources and IGs progressing up the FHIR Maturity Model.

HL7 and IHE also agreed to seek opportunities to jointly promote education and the adoption of interoperability standards to the health IT community in events such as HIMSS17 in Orlando and eHealth Week in Europe.

Web Extras

  • Find more information about IHE at ihe.net/