It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative. To quickly reiterate, the idea behind IHE is to enhance connectivity and improve the way computer and healthcare systems share information.
In terms of the most vital benefits, we believe it’s important to highlight two things: first, data storage and exchange - imagine having all patient data consistently stored in one place. This is particularly convenient comes in handy in Europe with its freedom of movement. Second, IHE has the potential to reduce medical errors. When treating patients, it’s crucial to have the most complete picture of their medical history. Not just the immediate test results, but also all information regarding allergies and current medication to allow for a drug interaction check before new prescriptions are issued. More data equals fewer errors!
As for the current developments taking place in eHealth, IHE actually mirrors some of the trends we’ve been witnessing. These include:
Personalization/Predictive medicine: it is vital to collect huge amounts of data for a software program to process.
Telemedicine: remote treatment makes it possible to introduce expert knowledge across the board, into general medical practices and into a patient's home.
All this indicates that actual patient data is a priority, as there is no extra “doctor-patient touch/examination.” Then again, data is key.
Looking at Germany in particular, we believe that in the next 10 years the current digital innovations will spur a greater change in medicine than we’ve seen in the past 100 years. The German government has established a framework for the introduction of user-oriented telematics applications and telemedicine with the so-called "E-Health Law" and use of the single Electronic Patient Record (ePR). The question is how profoundly the digital transformation will change the German healthcare system in order to achieve increased financial efficiency and quality of treatment.
Coming back to IHE, as great as the initiative is, there are still inevitable challenges standing in the way. From our perspective, to think such a big initiative through on a worldwide level is very complex. One would always have to keep in mind a country’s local laws that, more often than not, stand in the way of pushing things forward. Moreover, there is always the language factor to consider. For example, will a patient’s medical data collected in Turkey be relevant to a doctor in Norway?
How does DataArt come into the whole IHE play?
Well, speaking in technical terms, IHE promotes the use of established healthcare IT standards such as DICOM and HL7. All the data is standardized and our industry experts are extremely familiar with the standards IHE requires and can create the software programs and solutions needed. Systems developed in accordance with IHE communicate better with one another, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively. Building such systems is what keeps DataArt on top!
About the Author
Ivan Pantykin, Head of Healthcare & Life Sciences Europe