PCHA Makes Global Health IT Standards Development Personal

Dec 12, 2019

By Adam Bazer, MPD, Senior Technical Manager, Interoperability & Standards, HIMSS

The point of care.  Such a remarkable phrase.  It conveys so much of what makes the healthcare experience so unique.  Sure, it represents the physical location of where a person receives healthcare services from a clinician or caregiver, whether in or out of the home.  But it also represents the deepest exchange that takes place when two people come together with a shared sense of mind, body and spirit.  The point is the care.

At the core of the missions of both the PCHAlliance and IHE International is a laser-like focus on that point of care, and ensuring the interoperability of the health data being exchanged between patient, provider, and caregiver as all three parties work towards better health outcomes.  The two organizations recently met in October during the Connected Health Conference to formally launch the Personal Connected Health subdomain within the IHE Patient Care Device Domain.

A Joint Task Force between the two organizations formed to develop IHE profiles that leverage and build upon the Continua Design Guidelines.  The task force began work by drafting a specification that applies the HL7 FHIR® standard to report measurements taken by personal healthcare devices and mobile apps outside of healthcare facilities and report those measurements back to the person’s longitudinal health record.  Further alignment and integration of implementation guidance and testing are planned over the coming year, including the testing of the first of many IHE profiles to be developed in its Personal Connected health subdomain that leverages the Continua Design Guidelines at the 2020 IHE North American Connectathon, taking place January 20-24 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rob Havasy, MS Managing Director of PCHA alliance describes the collaborating “providing a single, comprehensive interoperability resource to the developer community.  This partnership enables developers to release user data beyond the boundaries of their products, enabling individuals to bring the point of care to wherever they need it to be.”   

Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, President of IHE USA sees the collaboration between PCHAlliance and IHE as an important illustration of the work on the ground being done to move the nation and globe towards established health IT policy goals. “The Office of the National Coordinator has established that the consistent implementation of established standards within health IT systems is necessary to achieve interoperability among healthcare providers.  This collaboration with the PCHAlliance quickly broadens IHE’s offering of profiles to include the consistent implementation of popular health standards for the more effective, secure and interoperable exchange of personal health data.”  Such interoperability is a core tenet of ONC’s Trusted Exchange Framework and the nationwide information exchange championed by organizations such as the Sequoia Project.

Michael McCoy, MD, FACOG, Advisor at StarBridge Advisors, LLC and IHE Board Co-Chair, agrees with Sensmeier regarding the collaboration between the two organizations.  “The value proposition is even stronger for solutions that connect content from personal devices into the overall, person-centric health record that is used to support care continuity and care quality for the consumer.”  Dr. McCoy sees opportunities ahead for the collaboration to ”engage with care delivery network stakeholders who have a fiduciary interest in population health outcomes like payors, ministries of health, and public care delivery networks.”

Kerry Amato, CAE, Executive Director of Health Innovation at HIMSS describes the impact this collaboration can have on different patient populations.  “The growing adoption of personal devices that monitor daily activity are paving the way for the mainstream monitoring of personal health information.” Amato sees the fruits of PCHAlliance and IHE’s collaboration “improving treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD and heart disease.”

You can also find out more about the PCHAlliance/IHE collaboration here.  The 2020 IHE North American Connectathon will show first-hand how the collaboration between PCHAlliance and IHE is helping to demonstrate the point of care by demonstrating interoperability at the point of care, wherever it is.