Connectathon spotlights interoperability in action

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Earlier this year, our Merge RIS™ developers successfully participated in the recent Connectathon sponsored by Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), where Merge Healthcare was the first vendor to pass IHE’s new Clinical Decision Support (CDS) profile testing—a profile Merge and our clients had a big hand in developing. This is a major step forward in our long journey toward ensuring efficient compliance with an important industry mandate.

Meeting the Mandate
The IHE Connectathon provided a perfect opportunity for Merge and other organizations to test product interoperability and problem resolution capabilities at structured, cross-vendor live testing events. This type of testing is a critical step to show that vendors are working to help providers comply with the upcoming mandate in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which requires physicians ordering advanced diagnostic imaging exams to consult government-approved, evidence-based appropriate-use criteria through a CDS system.  The mandate creates the need for the interoperability of CDS data from the computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system through claims filing.  The eOrdering Coalition, a collaboration of industry stakeholders, quickly realized that this interoperability challenge has to be solved, and Merge has been working with IHE for the last 18 months to create the profiles needed.  I have been honored to co-chair this initiative.

IHE is the best approach to ensure efficient implementation of the mandate, as blind testing eliminates bias and ensures that true interoperability is taking place.  Information about the test is withheld from the participants who have no knowledge of the vendors with which they will be paired. 

Essential Collaboration
During the process of approving and developing the CDS profile, we had several customers travel and participate in multi-day IHE sessions.  This collaborative process was also instrumental in the success of the profile.  Providers and vendors across imaging can be thankful that true user experience was incorporated into the process.  Their commitment helped inspire us to equally commit to success at the Connectathon.  At the end of the day, they are the winners.
Mike Bohl, CEO of Radiology Group, PC, SC, is an example of one of our committed customers.  Mike traveled to the IHE sessions, actively recruited help from providers and vendors alike, and now serves as the co-chair of the IHE Radiology Committee.  Mike gave Merge a big thumbs up when he heard news of its success at the Connectathon.  As a provider, he knows that the CDS mandate could potentially be a disaster for his practice, and appreciates how Merge stepped up to the plate to get the technology implemented efficiently on behalf of the industry.  Alicia Vasquez, Chief Executive Officer of Radiant Imaging, also participated in the IHE profile development and let us know how proud Radiant Imaging is of Merge for passing the IHE Connectathon for CDS. Alicia feels that Merge’s support of the eOrdering Coalition and IHE process demonstrates our commitment to imaging interoperability, successful customer outcomes, and a proactive approach to compliance for the regulatory policies governing imaging providers.

In addition to the CDS profile, Merge participated in the Connectathon with several other products on multiple profiles.  Participation in the Connectathon is not required; however, Merge has participated continuously since 2010.  We recognize that interoperability is vital to improving the efficiency of medical imaging — and ultimately health outcomes, which is why we are laser focused on ensuring that our products and services are built to communicate with disparate systems.  We have not achieved great success alone.  Merge readily shares credit with our clients who challenge, support, and trust us to continually improve our solutions to meet their changing needs.

Originally posted on: 3/15/2016 11:38:25 AM

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