Healthcare Enterprise

Written by Kimberly Clark
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The phrase "integrating the healthcare enterprise" (IHE) refers to the endeavor to create a computer network that will allow healthcare data to be effortlessly transferred across the entire array of patient care. This is a global effort that is being spearheaded in America by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC). In Europe and Asia, the project is being coordinated by several medical, radiological, and financial organizations.

The development of the healthcare enterprise was spurred by the belief that healthcare providers would only be able to provide their patients with the best possible care, if and only if they were able to access all the patient's relevant healthcare information. This access had to be flawless and instantaneous. Thus, in 1997, HMSS and RSNA began the undertaking that would become known as IHE.

Healthcare Enterprise Focus

The venture's focus was to on provide a framework for implementing guidelines on how to share patient information across computer systems. IHE believed the set of standard medical and transmissions codes, currently being enforced in the healthcare industry, leaves too much room for interpretation. So their aim is to develop a detailed, step-by-step guide for transferring patient information from one application to another.

Initially, IHE was focused solely on the field of radiology. The ultimate goal, however, is to extrapolate the processes developed in that area to every unit of the healthcare enterprise. With the assistance of several organizations and industry partners, the standards are steadily being implemented.

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