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24 Feb 2021

Top 3 Predictions for the First Virtual IHE Connectathon

By Renaud Capolunghi, Laurent Decool, Glynn Naughton and Teresa Soman

Historically, the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Connectathon was an annual, in-person event that medical device and related vendors attended to showcase and test their solutions’ capabilities. The event is an accelerator for making solutions connect with other technology in the healthcare delivery ecosystem, using standardized IHE protocols.  Capsule’s goal in our first few Connectathons was to identify the areas where our system was not natively compliant with the relevant IHE requirements and to close the gaps. Today, we can assert that our system maps to the latest standard advancements, and we drive standards in new areas, too.  All of these activities take place in the context of ensuring our solutions remain vendor-neutral and interoperable with devices across hospitals and health systems.

RELATED READING: How IHE HL7 Integration Profiles Take the Drudgery Out of Connecting Medical Devices

Connectathon also has been a convivial, collaborative time to meet with our vendor partners and other developers from around the world to learn about their new solutions and how Capsule’s Medical Device Information Platform could link to them and help clinicians capture, share and utilize the data.

However, as with nearly all conferences, Connectathon is virtual this year due to COVID-19. Since IHE Connectathon is not an event where we listen to educational sessions and visit booths, but rather participate in a series of approximately 40 hands-on, interactive tests, we have some predictions for this year’s event. Here are our top 3:

  1. COVID-19-Related Tests. Given the massive change in the industry since the last Connectathon, we may see new functionalities related to COVID-19 in the systems under testing. Capsule, for example, released its Ventilated Patient Surveillance (VPS) workstation to deliver safe and effective care to ventilated patients with COVID-19. Although the VPS is already operational in hospitals across the U.S., we anticipate that we will encounter new solutions developed over 2020 that other vendors will want to test with Capsule’s solutions.
  2. Stronger Teamwork. Our international engineering team is always together in Cleveland for Connectathon, working side-by-side to run tests and troubleshoot. As all teams have learned this year, however, virtual teamwork is not the same as in-person. Since the Connectathon has never been virtual before, we expect the first day of the four-day event to be a bit slow as all the vendors figure out how to communicate and how the tests will run. Even when we are all in the same location, vendors need plenty of setup time to assess the infrastructure. Fortunately, nearly a full year of working remotely might help us solve some of these obstacles sooner. This year’s Connectathon will test our ability to collaborate and troubleshoot remotely as we perform the connectivity tests. We are confident, however, that our experienced team—based in different parts of the world—will successfully execute the many rounds of tests.
  3. New, Real-world Lessons. Likewise, although the in-person Connectathon simulates hospital network environments, it is still a simulation connected over a local network. With vendors spread across the globe, we expect to learn new lessons about how our solutions perform and how systems interact over these larger distances. We predict new connectivity obstacles related to the virtual environment will emerge, which could give us valuable insights that we can apply in the real world. The more we learn at Connectathon, the more we can prevent clients from encountering any connectivity challenges when they add new devices or expand their infrastructures.

For Capsule, we couldn’t think of a better year to participate in IHE Connectathon. With the entire healthcare industry evolving toward more remote and virtual care, it is an ideal time to see how our solutions and those of our partners perform in these environments.

We also recognize the importance of the Connectathon, with an appreciation for connectivity across many levels – system to system, device to device, device to system, person to person and vendor to vendor. The IHE Connectathon enables all these connections to occur so that technology vendors can work together toward advancing integration through standardized communication protocols and, in turn, transforming the delivery of healthcare. We sincerely thank the IHE organization and our fellow participants for making this year’s event possible.

To learn more about the vendor-neutral interoperability solutions of the Capsule Medical Device Information Platform, please contact us.

About the authors

Renaud Capolunghi is senior director of device connectivity; Laurent Decool is support and maintenance lead, device connectivity; Glynn Naughton is system engineer, device connectivity; and Teresa Soman, MBA, PMP is director of product management at Capsule Technologies

Download this brochure and find out more about Capsule device integration and the Medical Device Information Platform