IHE Press Release: Newest IHE domain connects endoscopes to electronic patient records

6 April 2011 -- The success of open development methods pioneered by IHE face a new challenge in connecting medical records from endoscopic examinations to a patient's electronic health record.

Even if it is complex, the first hurdle is a familiar one, the lack of integration of endoscopy systems into their IT environment. For more than 10 years IHE has successfully broken down barriers to interoperability in radiology systems, and more recently with laboratory reporting or the disparate healthcare systems developed among 23 European Union countries.

The second barrier is less familiar for software engineers, bringing images created using the visible light sources of endoscopes into records that typically handle radiology images using more exotic imaging sources such as X-rays, magnetic resonance and ultrasound.

"Images from cameras with visible eye sensors are new objects for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standards and require new transfer formats," explained Emmanuel Cordonnier from software developer Etiam, who presented the new IHE Domain for Endoscopy at the 11th annual European Connectathon held in Pisa April 11 to 15, 2011.

A unique workflow in endoscopic procedures will also require a redefinition of specific IHE documentations based on existing ones. "As an example, diagnosis is the end product of the radiology workflow but it is the first step after ordering the procedure in endoscopy as the surgeon is examining in real time using real images right away to create a report," said Cordonnier.

More significantly, he said, is that an image is not required as a result of the process for clinical purposes. Only the report from the surgeon matters for patient care in most cases.

To tackle these problems, IHE will integrate new standards being developed for visible light by DICOM Working Group 13.

New protocols also benefit from a well-advanced technical framework drafted by the sponsor of the Endoscopy domain, the Japanese Association of Healthcare Information Systems (JAHIS).

The IHE International Board officially recognized the Endoscopy Domain in December, 2010. The IHE Endoscopy Planning and Technical Committee is a joint committee that oversees all of the domain's activities.

Cordonnier said he expects the final draft for the Technical Framework to be ready in 2013.

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About IHE-Europe

IHE-Europe is the European organisation of the international IHE organisation. ‘Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise’ (IHE) is a joint initiative of healthcare professionals and industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information. IHE promotes the coordinated use of established standards such as DICOM, XML and HL7 to address specific clinical needs in support of optimal patient care. Systems developed in accordance with IHE specifications communicate with one another better, are easier to implement, and enable care providers to use information more effectively.


Founded in 1994, the Japanese Association of Healthcare Information System Industry includes medical equipment manufacturers, computer manufacturers, software developers and system integrators dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and implementation of their products and services. The association participates in standardization and the technical development to fulfill these goals and promotes international exchange and cooperation.

Press contacts:

Emmanuel Cordonnier Etiam Tel: +33 2 99 14 33 84

Marie-Astrid Libert IHE-Europe Communications Tel: +32 (2) 706 89 60

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