HIMSS, the American association for information technology in healthcare is coming to the Netherlands. In collaboration with Convention Company, HIMSS holds its first HIMSS Amsterdam conference on 31 October and 1 November. One of the key themes, critical to the success of healthcare, is interoperability.

Why the Netherlands?

In an earlier article published on the website of IHE Netherlands, we asked Steven Wickel, director of Convention Company and organizer of the event, why the HIMSS comes to the Netherlands. He answered: “The average spending per health institution on IT in the Netherlands is the highest in Europe. We have little money for research. However, for implementation there are enough resources available. This in contrast to many countries around us. We have funds and resources, so we can buy modern IT. Another reason why the Netherlands has been chosen, is the fact that our country has the third-largest delegation during the HIMSS in the USA. The HIMSS draws the conclusion that the Netherlands is a huge market for Europeans - who for whatever reason do not want to travel to America – to show great showcases in this country. And last but not least the multilingualism of the Netherlands plays also a role.”

Program interoperability

The emphasis of the HIMSS in the Netherlands will be on a good substantive program, which is supported by guest speakers including Stanford University, Harvard University, Cleveland Clinics, Mayo, HCA and Group Health. The lectures are all related to the three themes of the event: adoption, change management and interoperability. Talking about interoperability, i.a. lectures will take place about interoperability in the Netherlands.

- Policy and Agenda – Lies van Gennip, CEO Nictiz

- Standardization of Nursing Informatics for Patients’ Transfer – Irene Duijvendijk, advisor Healthcare IT and Innovation, Nictiz

The event will also pay attention to the health record standard Continuity of Care Record (CCR), the interoperability initiative of eight university medical centers sharing EMR’s. (Electronic Medical Records) in the Netherlands.

IHE Netherlands

And of course IHE plays a major role when we are talking about interoperability. One of the speakers at the event is Piet Hein Zwaal, partner MedicalPHIT. He will talk about one of the success stories of IHE Netherlands: Cross Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS). On forehand he tells us: “XDS is used for an optimal exchange of patient data between different institutions. An XDS infrastructure – supplemented with (open) standards for exchanging data and process support – is crucial for the further development of regional networks. In fact the IHE XDS profile defines an infrastructure where availability of information is recorded and that also supports the exchange of this information. Use is made of already developed and used standards as XML, HTTP, DICOM and HL7. The XDS solution is a general framework intended to provide, register and retrieve standardized healthcare information in the form of documents. Documents ranging from simple text messages to standardized, structural messages.” Zwaal mentions two successful examples of using IHE-XDS: the image and documentation exchange in the region Amsterdam (Netherlands), known as EZDA and the image and documentation exchange RijnmondNet in radiotherapy (Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam and Albert Schweitzer hospital, both in the Netherlands).

IHE Europe

Apart from Piet Hein Zwaal other speakers will be present at the event on behalf of IHE. First of all Charles Parisot, Manager Architecture and Standards, IHE Europe Steering Committee. He will give the visitor an update on IHE and talk about the new developments of this organization. François Macary, responsible for Semantic Interoperabiity, ADIP Santé in France, will explain all the ins and outs of the success story IHE France; the build, run and lessons of a national e-Health Record. Mid-October an interview with Macary will appear on the website of IHE Netherlands.


It is expected that 650-900 people will visit the first HIMSS in the Netherlands. The aim is to organize the HIMSS annually in this country. “We are not looking for a huge exhibition”, Steven Wickel says. “If the visitor wants to see live demonstrations, they have to go to the USA. The larger US based-vendors do not come to Amsterdam for two days. Our main focus is ‘the discussion’ to make IT better. Networking is truly one of the main goals of the HIMSS in Amsterdam.”


More information

T: @HIMSSAmsterdam