IHE HL7 Integration Profiles can help hospitals avoid both the drudgery of MDI and the risk of leaving devices disconnected. Based on the HL7 data standard, these profiles remove the time-consuming guesswork by offering a much more prescriptive way of formatting the transactions of data between devices. In other words, HL7 tells us what we can do, IHE Integration Profiles tells us how to do it. While applying these profiles is not as simple as plugging in a new device into a network and then sharing data, it moves the industry closer to that goal.
Some vendors, such as Retia Medical, are updating devices to include the IHE HL7 Integration Profiles already embedded in their software so the equipment can more easily communicate with the downstream system. Recently, Retia Medical used Capsule Technologies’ Device Drive Interface development strategy to update its Argos Cardiac Monitor to include the IHE HL7 Integration Profile. As a result, the monitor connects with Capsule’s Medical Device Information Platform, which in turn, links it with the EHR or any other system. Hopefully, more device makers will follow Retia’s example and utilize both IHE HL7 Integration Profiles and RTM to simplify their medical device integration efforts so that hospitals can deliver safer, data-driven care without the time-consuming IT drudgery.