Frequently asked questions
Why do we need the eHealth Connector?
Opting for recognised standards in the eHealth environment is generally welcomed, and in some cases even laid down by the law. But often the necessary know-how is lacking and can’t be acquired so quickly because of the great complexity involved. This means that people regularly resort to proprietary solutions that aren’t interoperable. The eHealth Connector is a convenience application programming interface that lowers the barrier to entering the world of eHealth standards, providing an incentive to create a harmonised, connected healthcare system.
Can I use the eHealth Connector without a licence and with no fee?
Yes. The eHealth Connector is a so-called FOSS or free and open source software that’s available on GitLab. However, as is customary for FOSS, the relevant licences for free software apply. In the case of the eHealth Connector, they are the Eclipse Public License v1.0 for the source code and the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Creative Commons License for the documentation.
If I develop extensions to the Connector, do I have to share them?
No. But by their nature, free open source projects involve an element of give and take. It makes sense to work on functionalities and modules on a common basis so that they are open to all users. This also applies to extensions. Naturally, commercial products that have to use parts of the eHealth Connector don’t have to be disclosed.
Who’s behind the eHealth Connector?
The Connector is an open source project that’s basically sponsored by the interested parties who have joined forces in the eHealth Connector interest group. This group is open to any individuals and organisations that are interested. The business office is run by IHE Suisse. IHE Suisse is the organisation representing Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) in Switzerland, and among other things takes care of maintenance by assuring the publication of regular quality-assured releases. eHealth Suisse, the Swiss competence and coordination centre run by the federal government and the cantons, funds basic support to ensure that eHealth Connector users receive a rapid response to open questions.
How can I get involved?
Join the “ehc-implementors” Google group or the eHealth Connector interest group. Naturally, you can also download the code for free yourself. But joining these groups is a good way of staying up to speed and getting even more out of it. The working language is English.
Why should I join and work with an open source community if it’s publicly funded in any case?
IHE Suisse and eHealth Suisse cover only the basic costs to assure minimal maintenance and support for the eHealth Connector. Ongoing development isn’t possible within this framework, and requires additional involvement. By getting involved in the eHealth Connector syndicate you’ll receive regular information and the opportunity to help shape the Connector to best serve your needs.
Won’t the eHealth Connector force other offerings out of the market? After all, a number of Swiss software companies offer adapters for the same functionalities.
No. The eHealth Connector may even be the basis of some of these adaptors, so it actually enables products to get established. To drive interoperability in healthcare forward, standards are crucial, and the eHealth Connector is a good facilitator. The credo is to collaborate on standards and compete on products. Every healthcare establishment and IT provider is free to choose whether to implement the prescribed standards via their own expertise, use an existing open source component or procure a commercial product.
I’d like to learn more. Are training courses on the eHealth Connector available?
Yes. The eHealth Connector Wiki contains a wide range of information for developers. There are demo applications in Java and .Net for all functionalities, as well as guidance and recommendations. On request, a number of companies offer courses and trainings. Contact us.
“The Connector with the CDA validation engine has worked outstandingly well for the Austrian ELGA patient record. The country-specific extension serves as an excellent basis for a linking solution.”
Stefan Sabutsch, ELGA GmbH
“The eHealth Connector will do a great deal to facilitate the use of the EPR by healthcare professionals by simplifying integration of their primary system with the EPR, in particular for tracking medication.”
Patrice Hof, Secretary General of CARA
“The eHealth Connector gives software manufacturers a quick, effective and low-cost solution to link their products with eHealth communities without their software developers having to acquire in-depth knowledge of eHealth standards.”
Tony Schaller, medshare GmbH
“Interoperability in healthcare only works with established standards. The Connector is an easy way into this world.”
Nicolai Lütschg, President of IHE Suisse
“The eHealth Connector provides the kind of interface a digitally networked healthcare system requires.”
Adrian Schmid, Head of eHealth Suisse
“We’ve been able to use the eHealth Connector to implement the electronic vaccine record in our practice’s software and substantially reduce the day-to-day work.”
Franz Marty, GP, gleis d medical centre
“The eHealth Connector is the plug to the world of eHealth, providing a connection to e-vaccination, e-medication, e-laboratory – and much more besides.”
Cornelia Schmid, medical IT consultant
“The eHealth Connector already provides thousands of lines of code. That saves us time and effort and reduces the obstacles to digital healthcare.”
Roeland Luykx, Arpage AG
“With the entry into force of the law on the EPR, and the replacement of our EPR platform giving us strong integration, we’re migrating to interfaces based on IHE profiles. Thanks to the eHealth Connector we can do so quickly, simply and securely.”
Stéphane Spahni, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG)
“Free open source is a driver of all types of projects, including commercial developments. That’s why we’re also part of the eHealth Connector community.”
Michael Onken, CEO of Open Connections GmbH