PCHAlliance Joins German Umbrella Association for Health IT Standards (SITIG), Strengthens Role of International Standards for Connected Health

Nov 09, 2017

BERLIN, DE, and ARLINGTON, VA, 9 November 2017 – The Spitzenverband IT-Standards im Gesundheitswesen (Umbrella Association for Health IT Standards, SITiG) has accepted the membership application of the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) in its recent general assembly.  PCHAlliance develops and promotes the adoption of the Continua Design Guidelines (CDGs), the internationally recognised interoperability framework for personal connected health solutions, which are used in telemonitoring and other mHealth or connected health applications. 

The Continua Design Guidelines (CDGs) are the only open, international implementation framework for the transmission of personal health data from devices such as pedometers, thermometers, weight scales, blood glucose meters, blood pressure cuffs etc., to service providers or electronic health records.  These data transmissions enable telemonitoring services which improve the healthcare and quality of life for people with chronic conditions, and they can relieve pressure on health services. The CDGs, revised annually, build on existing standards including ISO/IEEE and HL7 as well as technologies like Bluetooth, HL7 FHIR and others, and they define interfaces with IHE profiles.  Since 2013 the International Telecommunications Union has adopted the CDGs as a formal international ITU standard (ITU recommendation ITU-T H.810).

"Integrating personal connected health systems into the healthcare system is becoming increasingly important in Germany to ensure the quality and sustainability of health services and to involve and empower the patients.  Open, standardised solutions are critical,” says Prof. Dr. Sylvia Thun, Chair of the Spitzenverband.  "We are glad that, with PCHAlliance, we have now an important member to advance standards and interoperability also in the field of personal connected health.”

"We look forward to cooperating with other SDOs within SITiG and to jointly work towards open, international standards and real interoperability,“ says Horst Merkle, Chair of the PCHAlliance and Director, Health & Digital Solutions, Roche Diabetes Care.  Merkle continues: "We hope that joining SITiG will be another important step to promote recognition and adoption of the CDGs in Germany, so we can build an open ecosystem of interoperable solutions that will be especially conducive for ideas and innovations from start-ups and SMEs.“

The field of personal connected health is still fragmented.  The market is dominated by proprietary systems which, while connecting devices with their health and wellness apps and platforms, create new data silos.  Many call for better interoperability, but the incentives to standardise data transmission are not aligned.  Some European health systems have been developing electronic health systems and integrating personal health systems, and they mandate standardised formats.  The relevant authorities of Austria, Catalonia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland work with the PCHAlliance and use the Continua Design Guidelines.  More information is available at www.pchalliance.org/continua-adoption.

Spitzenverband IT-Standards im Gesundheitswesen (SITiG)

HL7 Germany (www.hl7.de) and IHE Germany (www.ihe-d.de) have advanced their cooperation by founding the Spitzenverband IT-Standards im Gesundheitswesen (Umbrella Association for Health IT Standards, SITiG).
The Association will represent the interests of all standards development organisations (SDOs) and serve as principal interlocutor for policymakers as well as for all stakeholder organisations (especially health professionals, providers, payers and others) to advance standardisation and interoperability in health IT.
Primary objectives include the promotion and adoption of international IT standards in electronic communications among all health providers and patients/citizens, and the cooperation among standards development organisations.  SITiG will promote compliance and promotion of those health IT standards that are developed in consensual, transparent, balanced and open processes. More information is available (in German) at www.sitig.de.

Personal Connected Health Alliance

The Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) aims to make health and wellness an effortless part of daily life. The PCHAlliance, a non-profit organization formed by HIMSS, believes that health is personal and extends beyond healthcare. PCHAlliance mobilizes a coalition of stakeholders to realize the full potential of personal connected health. Members are a vibrant ecosystem of technology and life sciences industry icons and innovative, early stage companies, governments, academic institutions, and associations from around the world. To support its vision, PCHAlliance convenes the global personal connected health community at the annual Connected Health Conference, the premier international event for the exchange of research, evidence, ideas, innovations and opportunities in personal connected health. PCHAlliance publishes and promotes adoption of the Continua Design Guidelines, recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as the international standard for safe, secure, and reliable exchange of data to and from personal health devices. PCHAlliance accelerates technical, business, policy and social strategies necessary to advance personal connected health through its Healthy Longevity initiative to promote lifelong health and wellness.  More information is at www.pchalliance.org.

PCHAlliance will have a stand at Medica 2017 (Düsseldorf, Germany, 13-16 November).  Visit us in hall 15 A23 (at the Wearable Technologies booth). 

Michael Strübin
PCHAlliance 
Büro Brüssel
T: +32 498 520044