Ever since the adoption of the E-Health Act in December last year, Health 4.0 is the phrase on everyone’s lips. Most experts agree: digital networks increase the quality of care. However, we are still waiting for the answer to the age-old question of how this can be implemented universally. This is also because Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) as a crucial piece of the puzzle for the digital transformation is largely unknown in Germany. Our guest author Uwe Porwollik presents the IHE global initiative, its players and its strategy in a four-part series – and provides answers on how IHE aims to achieve the goal of exchanging information across systems and organizations.

For some experts, IHE is just one more standard that nobody needs. This point of view is misleading when you bear in mind that the networking project “ELGA” in Austria builds on a completely IHE-compliant infrastructure, for example.

IHE is not a standard!

As early as 1998, resourceful experts in the US realized that the growing number of digital medical devices and ever-faster technical advances were leading to a plethora of different standards. If digital information was to be exchanged in this increasingly complex landscape, as they assumed, then it would need clear rules. On this basis, IHE developed a methodology that defines uniform standards for medical processes with clear instructions for use.

IHE – a global initiative

Today, IHE brings together manufacturers, developers, researchers, and users from around the world. In Germany, IHE operates as a registered association. Working together, the players in working groups (domains) describe medical processes, identify the right standards, advise on the technical specifications required, make recommendations, and test the implementation for manufacturers. Every activity within the initiative is based on the premise that with easy-to-integrate medical devices and medical software, all healthcare professionals can quickly access relevant information – anytime, anywhere.

The series:


About the author:

Uwe Porwollik, a partner in eHealth.Business, sales and project success in the health sector.