It’s appropriate that this year’s Connectathon, the annual geekfest sponsored by Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, should feature the release of the free e-book Interoperability for Dummies (IHE Edition), since the entire purpose of both the event and the organization is to make interoperability so easy that it’s invisible. (See sidebar to get your copy.)

“Because [interoperability] is so technical, vendors don't even talk about it with their customers, so they don’t understand that IHE is important in making interoperability happen,” said Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics at HIMSS and president of IHE USA. “All health information exchanges are using IHE in one way or another. Awareness of it is finally growing.” One of IHE’s objectives is to have its specifications incorporated into certification requirements for meaningful use, and to have providers require IHE-style interoperability in the software and medical devices they purchase.

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