Interoperability Becoming Operational in Digital Dentistry

Posted on October 9, 2013

CHICAGO, November 16, 2012  – Vendors of dental systems are invited to participate in testing their systems for conformance to the new interoperability standards at the IHE Connectathon on January 14, 2014, in Chicago. Annually thereafter, the American Dental Association (ADA) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) will hold the Connectathon for vendors of digital dental health care information and imaging systems to test the implementation of interoperability standards. Verification of interoperability among systems is assessed by independent judges.  

The ADA is helping to ensure the usability and functionality of the digital dental systems through the development of new standards and through participation in a unique standards-based software testing program. Dentistry has joined a growing list of healthcare domains preparing for the transition from paper records to EHR. The IHE Dental Domain has been formed as a working group to develop profiles and related technical documentation for this digital systems integration. These projects are designed to assist ADA members in selecting and using digital dental technologies and computer information systems whose interoperability in real-world practice settings has been demonstrated. 

The goal is that dentists will soon have the ability to exchange diagnostic digital dental images and patient data securely with other healthcare entities no matter the type of software or systems. This technology, based on the ADA-endorsed Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard and other proven accepted standards, is becoming a practical and reliable capability of dental digital imaging and practice management systems. 

Following the Connectathon, an interoperability demonstration is planned for the 2014 ADA  Annual Session. There, dentists will be able to exchange images in a real-world setting, giving ADA members a new tool by which to evaluate potential digital systems for their practices.

The ADA is committed to fostering the interoperability of dental data and devices through a standardized file format that makes possible the export and import of digital medical images and other health data among software systems in a safe and secure manner. 

For more information about the IHE Dental Domain or to register to participate in the IHE Connectathon, contact Paul Bralower, Manager, Department of Standards, American Dental Association, at 312-440-4139 or bralowerp@ada.org. Vendors must register in advance in order to participate.

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