Two hundred and fifty representatives of seventy healthcare IT companies will gather in Barcelona next week for the 6th annual European “Connectathon” – a week-long event devoted to the quest for interoperability.

As its name suggests, the meeting is a ‘connectivity marathon’ where companies will take advantage of the opportunity to test their products in what the organisers describe as a “real interoperability environment” at Barcelona’s La Farga convention centre.

The Connectathon has been organised by the Integrating Health Enterprise (IHE), which hosts similar events in the US, and Cocir, the European industry voice for the radiological, electromedical and healthcare IT industries.

They say: “Although IHE started its activities in the radiology domain back in 1998, today’s scope reaches many domains like cardiology, laboratory, information technology infrastructure and patient care co-ordination.

"This last domain, patient care co-ordination, aims to achieve interoperability among different electronic healthcare records, so that clinical data of every patient can be easily and immediately accessed independently of how and where they were originated.”

To enter the Connectathon, companies must have implemented the IHE’s technical framework specifications into their products in a real interoperability environment. The frameworks specify the use of common standards such as DICOM and HL7.

An “IHE Integration Statement” will be published for products that succeed in passing the tests. At the Barcelona event, 110 products are expected to undergo testing.

A public version of a Connectathon was on display in February at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting in San Diego where 48 vendors collaborated on a demo of their interoperability. Delegates were invited to register a record and then visit up to 12 booths to see the information called up on a wide variety of systems.

Participants listed by organisers for the Barcelona event are:

Agfa Healthcare; Alma IT Systems; Atos Worldline – Public Health Transport Unit; aycan Digitalsysteme GmbH; Cerner Deutschland GmbH; CHILI GmbH; Data Processing Spa; DEDALUS S.p.A.; Del Mar Reynolds Medical; Dianoema S.p.A.; Eastman Kodak Company; EDL; EL.CO. s.r.l.; Engineering Sanita Enti Locali; ENOVACOM; Esaote S.p.A.; ETIAM; Ferrania Technologies S.p.A; Fuji Photo Film Europe; GE Healthcare; GIE Convergence-Profils; GIP CPAGE; Global Imaging OnLine; Informatica e Tecnologia S.r.l.; Initiate Systems, Inc.; Intelerad Medical Systems; iSOFT; isoftde; ITZ Medicom GmbH & Co. KG; KARL STORZ GmbH & Co. KG; McKesson; MEDarchiver; MEDASYS SA; medavis GmbH; MedicalCommunications; Medical Insight A/S; MEDICARES groupe ARES; Mediware; Metafora Informatica srl; MNI; Open Three Consortium of the Universities of Padova and Trieste; Orthocrat; Philips Medical Systems; R2i Santé; Rasna Medical Systems; REM s.r.l; Rogan-Delft; Schwarzer GmbH; Sectra Imtec AB; Siemens Medical Solutions; SNR; SOLINFO; SQLI; St. Jude Medical AB; Swissray Medical AG; Synapsis; Syncro-Med; TELEMIS SA; Theleme; Tiani-Spirit Gmbh; TomTec Imaging Systems GmbH; TrakHealth Limited; T-Systems; UDIAT Centre Diagnòstic S. A.; University of Trieste, DEEI; VISUS Technology Transfer GmbH; WAID.  

A spokesperson said the results should be available on IHE’s website by 8 May.