Plugfest to join Connectathon

Continua, IHE to boost interoperability at annual meet
By Bernie Monegain
10:32 AM

Continua Health Alliance will co-locate its upcoming U.S. Plugfest at IHE North America Connectathon 2014, Jan. 28-29, in Chicago.

The IHE NA Connectathon is billed as the largest interoperability testing event for health IT in the country. It attracts 100 vendors and more than 600 engineers to test more than 160 systems.

Continua, an international nonprofit organization, employs global technology industry standards to develop end-to-end, plug-and-play connectivity for personal connected health. IHE USA is a nonprofit organization focused on driving the adoption of standards-based interoperability to improve patient care.

[See also: Continua makes new design guidelines available to developers.]

Co-locating the IHE NA Connectathon and the Continua Plugfest will offer electronic health records and health information exchange participants new opportunities to work toward integration of personal connected health devices, which will help companies and healthcare organizations meet the goals of meaningful use Stage 3 and accountable care, officials say. Continua’s Plugfest enables companies participating in the IHE NA Connectathon to test their products for compliance with Continua’s end-to-end interoperability standards in personal connected health.

Continua’s Plugfest will be part of New Directions, a new testing track at the IHE NA Connectathon leveraging the Connectathon environment and infrastructure to enable testing of new and emerging health IT applications.

[See also: Telemonitoring takes a leap forward.]

"The scope and diversity of the IHE NA Connectathon make it an ideal venue for a Plugfest, because Continua’s Design Guidelines define an end-to-end solution that’s relevant to developers along the entire spectrum of personal connected health," said Clint McClellan, Continua’s president and board chairman, in a news release. Continua’s Design Guidelines convene global technology standards to define an end-to-end solution focused on simple plug-and-play connectivity across HUBs -- a common connection point for devices in a network; LANs, or local area networks; PANs, or personal area networks; WANs, or wide area networks; and HRNs or health records networks.

The New Directions testing track at the IHE NA Connectathon provides organizations, such as Continua, additional opportunities with an established health IT vendor community.

"Our goal in adding the New Directions track is to expedite the testing and implementation of innovative applications, and ultimately, improve patient care and safety," Joyce Sensmeier, IHE USA president, said in a statement.