What is "SDPi"?
IHE SDPi - Service-oriented Device Point-of-care Interoperability - is a set of IHE profiles under development in the IHE Devices DPI (Device Point-of-care Interoperability) sub-domain. As summarized in the proposal slide deck below, they leverage the ISO/IEEE 11073 Service-oriented Device Connectivity (SDC) standards that provide for SOA-based device-to-device plug-and-play interoperability at high acuity points of care (e.g., surgery, ICU or emergency). The four IHE SDPi profiles in development map to four ISO/IEEE 11073 SDC key interoperability purposes KIP) standards tailored for medical technology: Plug-and-play Connectivity (SDPi-P), Reporting (SDPi-R), Alerting (SDPi-A) & external Control (SDPi-xC). Note that the IHE SDPi profiles include defined "gateway" actors for integrating an SDC-based environment with both HL7 V2 and FHIR connected environments.
Did you say "SDC"?!
CAUTION! Don't go down the rabbit hole ... Though in the health IT world "SDC" typically means Structured Data Capture, in the device informatics world it stands for Service-oriented Device Connectivity and specifically refers to a set of ISO/IEEE 11073 standards. Parallel universes to be sure ... one community totally oblivious to the other communities use of the TLA "SDC."
The HL7 Devices on FHIR (DoF) work began in the summer of 2016, building on work that had been pursued during the preceding years, has been a very active collaboration with HIMSS/PCHAlliance "Continua" and IHE Devices, resulting in the development of two implementation guides (one for Point-of-Care Devices (PoCD) and one for Personal Health Devices (PHD)). The DoF team is actively working to expand the IGs to support both device alerting, as well as device SDC inter-connection. There is also consideration of a 3rd IG focused not on helping device technologists send granular device data using FHIR - which can quickly get very complicated even with PHDs - but on the applications community that wants to integrate device-sourced information. All of this work is included in the initial set of projects identified below.
After arguably 40 years of various initiatives struggling to achieve plug-and-play medical device interoperability (PnP MDI), "from the device interface", the reality remains that devices support proprietary protocols to their gateway servers and all exchange is achieve with "my server will talk with your server" connectivity. After 15 years of development, though, a core set of IEEE standards are in place, products coming to the market and used on high-acuity patients, and international recognition and interest is taking root. Applying IHE's highly successful approach to developing, testing and showcasing standards-based technical solutions, to this challenging area of PnP MDI, using the proven ISO/IEEE 11073 SDC standards as a base, positions SDPi to finally achieve what has to date been an elusive dream.
Why joining SDPi+FHIR?
The Gemini program focus on "SDPi+FHIR" brings together two core specification areas, IHE's SDPi and HL7's FHIR, that can cover the three main use contexts: High-acuity Point-of-Care, Healthcare enterprise, and home/mobile. Yes, there may be other alternative standards and technical approaches, but much of this work is being actively pursued in the various organizations, by many of the same people but with ad hoc coordination and collaboration, a sub-optimal mix of tools, and with work artifacts spread across various locations using different formats.
The Gemini SDPi+FHIR objectives stated above can be pulling together the efforts described above under one simple, consolidated joint HL7-IHE program.
Is this limited to IHE and HL7, the Gemini initiative partners?
No, it includes active engagement of other standards groups including the IEEE 11073 standards community, ISO/TC 215 & IEC/SC 62A Joint Working Group 7 (JWG7) standards for safe, effective and secure medical device and health software. That said, the primary focus of effort related to PnP MDI is in the IHE Devices and HL7 Devices groups.
See the IHE Compendium of Medical Device Oriented Use Cases that was developed in conjunction with the IHE SDPi Paper.
The Gemini program proposal identified a starter set of use case narratives that together span the use contexts comprised by SDPi & FHIR:
Note: The above narratives encompass a set of component use cases that ultimately drive requirements specification and ultimately conformity assessment testing of interoperable systems.
The SDPi+FHIR project builds upon the multi-decades of work in various organizations. Not only IHE and HL7, but IEEE, ISO, IEC and others. Many of these efforts have developed frameworks or models to help the community (internal and external) understand how the various elements of the specifications relate to each other. In the case of this project, a "Hanging Gardens" of Interoperability model has been crafted to organize the various standards "layers" that are being created or leveraged and integrated, but this model is closely aligned with those of other standards families, including the IEEE 11073 SDC "Cathedral" model and the ISO/IEC JWG7 SES "Temple" model. Understanding these three models is ... time well spent!
A more detailed explanation is provided on the SDPi+FHIR Hanging Gardens Framework page.
This Gemini program initiative includes a set of projects coordinated and in some cases jointly developed between the two organizations:
Build on the success of the Devices on FHIR IGs to add support for FHIR-based device alerting and IEEE 11073 SDC integration, and ensure tight integration with the IHE SDPi profile specifications.
Advance the development of the IHE SDPi supplement, prototype and test tooling, including definition of "gateway" actors for seamless integration with HL7 V2 and FHIR connections and IGs.
Joint papers and technical reports:
“What is a device?” - including AI/ML SAMD, across use context geographies; intent is not to answer the question definitively but to examine how the term's meaning has changed over the last 10+ years and the various ways that it is being used within the health informatics community today. This is especially the case with the rapid changes in technologies in recent years and the blurring of the traditional lines of demarcation such as medical (regulated) or non-medical, Point-of-Care Device (PoCD) or Personal Health Device (PHD), etc. This is especially important now that both the IHE and HL7 work groups are simply labeled "Devices" - what does THAT mean?!
Examine how standards for establishing medical device and health software safety, effectiveness and security (SES), typically developed in ISO/IEC JWG7 (see above) might be applied to ISO/IEEE 11073 SDC, IHE SDPi and HL7 FHIR technologies to achieve SES solutions. The primary target audiences are quality system experts, regulatory affairs stakeholders, and legal / liability managers. This paper will not only provide direct guidance to the specifications developed within the SDPi+FHIR program, but will also make recommendations for standards for other organizations such as ISO/IEC JWG7.
Addressing the immediate and future needs and gaps exposed by the Pandemic focusing on: in-patient, outpatient, post-acute-care & patient home care scenarios. This includes considerations not only of how to rapidly identify interoperable health technology solutions especially during times of crisis response, but how to answer the questions "Is this safe enough? Effective enough? and Secure enough?" and understand the potential risks / benefits for advancing innovative technologies to address pressing needs. This paper will not only provide direct guidance to the specifications developed within the SDPi+FHIR program for the IHE and HL7 Devices work groups, but will also integrate discussions with other working groups such as HL7 Mobile Health, IHE ITI, and related work at ISO/TC 215 WG2 and ISO/IEC JWG7.
NOTE about project governance: Each project in the Gemini SDPi+FHIR program will be jointly developed, but will also have a primary "home" in either IHE Devices or HL7 Devices. The consensus standards processes will be determined based on that "home". In some cases, projects will be be jointly governed (e.g., technical reports) and will then require coordination of formal project approvals, development processes, etc.
Resources to supporting the development, adoption, implementation and use of SDPi+FHIR solutions include:
The following documents are of general interest to the overall program: