Infoway to promote Open Source for
MONTREAL – Canada Health Infoway has launched an Open Source initiative that will help
demonstrate how independent health information systems can exchange
information with one another. This interoperability is critical to bring
authorized healthcare providers complete and accurate information when
and where they need it, allowing them to make better diagnosis and
The Infoway Reference Implementation Suite shows how different systems,
in this case client registry systems connecting to clinical systems, can
communicate with one another.
Patients within the healthcare system are often registered in many
different directories (registries), within clinics, hospitals or at a
province-wide level. To present the complete picture of a patient’s
history, it is necessary to identify patients across independent systems
to be able to get a complete view of their clinical information.
To facilitate interoperability, the Infoway Reference Implementation
Suite shows how common standards for exchange of health information can
work when client registry systems are linked to clinical systems within
a jurisdiction and with one another across jurisdictions.
In line with its mission to accelerate the development of an Electronic
Health Record solution, Canada Health Infoway is working diligently to
ensure that different health information systems can exchange
information with one another. Without standards to ensure
interoperability, there would only be a patchwork of disparate systems
across the country.
“As a reference tool for implementers and vendors, the Infoway Reference
Implementation Suite will enable faster uptake of Electronic Health
Record interoperability standards endorsed by Infoway and our federal,
provincial and territorial partners,” said Richard Alvarez, Infoway’s
president and CEO.
The tool will also help mitigate the risk for all jurisdictions and
organizations who wish to put in place interoperable client registry
To make the system available to the broadest possible audience, Infoway
has made it available free of charge under an Open Source license to all
those who are interested. This is Infoway’s first contribution to the
Open Source community.
“Standards-based Open Source solutions can bring value as components
within Electronic Health Record systems. They can be useful tools in
accelerating EHR systems development, as is the case with Infoway
Reference Implementation Suite, which provides developers with source
code to integrate into their solutions,” said Dennis Giokas, Infoway’s
chief technology officer.
Infoway Reference Implementation Suite” Technical Overview
The Infoway Reference Implementation Suite helps to demonstrate and
prove Client Registry interoperability messages using Health Level Seven
(HL7) Version 2.4 and Version 3.0 standards.
The system implements the minimum subset of core Interoperable
Electronic Health Record (iEHR) services and functionality that is
required to demonstrate clinical system to Client Registry and Client
Registry to Client Registry interoperability. It also implements a
Client Registry, a simple ADT (Admit, Discharge, Transfer) Application
and several key components found in middleware products (in the Infoway
EHRS Blueprint we refer to this component as the HIAL – Health
Information Access Layer).
The suite’s focus is on the HIAL and the interactions between the HIAL,
the Client Registry and the ADT application. In addition, it
demonstrates the extraction of sample clinical data from an EHR
Repository Service to demonstrate (simulate) the construction of an EHR
derived from different health jurisdictions in Canada.
Infoway Reference Implementation Suite will show that real HL7 V2.4 and
V3.0 Client Registry messages work in a demonstration environment.
Vendors may make use of the source code to accelerate their
implementations of these messages.
The Infoway Reference Implementation Suite currently resides on
Sourceforge.net, an Open Source distribution site. The site allows users
to access the software suite plus the following supporting
• Installation Guide
• Administration Guide
• User Manual
• Overview presentation
• Technical Architecture Specification
• High Level Application Design
Link to Infoway Reference Implementation Suite location on
About Canada Health Infoway
Canada Health Infoway’s mission is to accelerate the development of
compatible electronic health information systems across Canada. These
systems provide healthcare professionals with rapid access to complete
and accurate patient information, enabling better decisions about
treatment and diagnosis. The result is a sustainable, more
cost-efficient healthcare system offering improved patient safety and
better quality of care. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit
corporation whose members are the federal, provincial, and territorial
deputy ministers of health. At the end of March 2005, Infoway had
approved $320 million for approximately 100 projects in every Canadian
province and territory.
Open source refers to a program in which the source code is available to
the general public for use and/or modification from its original design
free of charge, i.e., open. Open source code is typically created as a
collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and
share the changes within the community.