Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

PCH and IHE plan joint big-data initiatives

Steve Rogerson
February 14, 2017
The Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCH Alliance) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) are launching several joint initiatives in 2017 that will focus on improving the ways health IT systems share information.
The two organisations share the mission of improving interoperability and overseeing conformity testing and certification of products worldwide. IHE's primary domain is in clinical healthcare settings and exchange of health information across enterprise, while the PCH Alliance focuses on home and remote health settings.
"The PCH Alliance and IHE share the same vision," said Michael Kirwan, vice president of the PCH Alliance. “That is, we believe that health information exchange is possible throughout the worldwide healthcare ecosystem and, together, we can support new innovations and create solutions to improve health outcomes, enhance understanding and help make big data possible. We are looking forward to expanding our collaboration and working closely to further extend interoperability in healthcare."
The transmission of healthcare-related data among facilities, health information organisations and government agencies according to international standards is an integral component of the health information technology (HIT) infrastructure worldwide. IHE's Profiles and the PCHAlliance's Continua design guidelines are both standards-based, open specifications that have been designed to be deployed together, and ensure that device data – whether captured by the patient or in a care delivery setting – flow into electronic health records in the same format and coded content.
Supporting their joint liaison agreement signed in 2016, the two bodies are implementing a three-pronged approach to improve and simplify interoperability. The organisations will further their collaboration on future IHE Profiles and Continua guidelines development to ensure the combined deployment of fully interoperable systems. The two groups will also collaborate on conformity testing and certification, aligning their respective tools and processes.
Finally, they are committed to advancing communications, education and interoperability demonstrations to eliminate confusion among providers, vendors and standards bodies.
"IHE is very excited to partner with the PCH Alliance in advancing the goal of standards-based interoperability," said Michael McCoy, co-chair of the IHE international board. "The PCH Alliance brings a well-established culture of standards and testing in the device space that blends perfectly with IHE's body of work, expanding the scope of connected HIT systems in this rapidly innovating area of healthcare."
Continua design guidelines are recognised as an international standard for personal health systems through the ITU. The guidelines comprise a reference architecture, implementation tools and services that are developed based on accepted technology standards and specification such as Bluetooth Low Energy, IEEE's 11073 personal health device standards, IHE PCD-01 patient care device transaction and the HL7 Health Level Seven international personal health monitoring report. Members of the PCH Alliance have free access to product test and certification tools and services.
IHE Profiles provide a common language for purchasers and vendors to meet the integration needs of healthcare sites and the integration capabilities of HIT products. They offer developers a clear implementation path for communications standards supported by industry partners that are documented, reviewed and tested. IHE Profiles give purchasers a tool that reduces the complexity, cost and anxiety of implementing interoperable systems. They organise and leverage the integration capabilities that can be achieved by coordinated implementation of communications standards.