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Hospital Healthcare Europe

IHE goes international


4 April, 2008  
In a signing ceremony yesterday in Brussels a new international non-profit association called “IHE-Europe aisbl” was formally created.

Since 2000, IHE-Europe has been an active force in promoting interoperability for healthcare systems across the Continent. Besides developing technical frameworks for interoperability, the “Connectathon” is the major event organised yearly by IHE-Europe where software developed by many different companies is tested. More than 400 engineers will be present at the eighth Connectathon, which will take place in Oxford, UK.

The new pan-European legal status is an important milestone in the history of IHE, with national initiatives already existing and active in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Israel and the United Kingdom.

The IHE-Europe Co-Chair representing vendors of healthcare IT systems, Peter Kuenecke, said: “Patients are traveling freely across Europe today but their health records do not follow. From a technical standpoint, IHE-Europe is the only organisation providing a framework to allow interoperability between systems so that this becomes possible. IHE-Europe offers an exceptional forum for efficient contribution between users and vendors in various European countries.”

Karima Bourquard, Co-Chair of the new organisation  representing the users of healthcare IT systems said: “As a new legal entity, IHE-Europe can begin to actively pursue partnership and cooperation on EU projects related to healthcare, as well as with national authorities or organisations in Europe.”

Nicole Denjoy, COCIR Secretary General, said: “COCIR has been very supportive of the IHE process over the eight past years, born in the Radiology domain and which has now expanded in many other clinical domains and IT infrastructure. COCIR is happy to see this initiative taking off as an independent organisation and will continue to support IHE-Europe.”

The IHE Connectathon 2008 takes place in Oxford 7-11 April, at St Catherine’s College. More than 400 engineers taking part will test their systems with partners and competitors to share patient information, a critical step in achieving systems interoperability to enhance the quality of patient care.

The first General Assembly for IHE-Europe aisbl will be held during the upcoming European Connectathon.

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