Connectathon Organization and Execution

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This page Connectathon provides a very broad overview of IHE Connectathons and includes information about participating in exiting events. The audience for the information presented below includes organizations that wish to start and host their own Connectathon.

Who Can Sponsor a Connectathon?

Many Connectathons are sponsored and run by a national deployment committee. In the case of Europe, IHE Europe is the overall sponsor and much of the logistics are left to a deployment committee at the country level. Examples of countries that have executed Connectathons at the national level include (as of 2020.01.01):

  • Austria
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Korea
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

These IHE Connectathons will typically test profiles in more than one IHE Domain based on national or regional interests.

Some IHE Domains run Connectathons that are specific to their domain. They may find that they have international participation and would prefer to run events that are targeted to their domain rather than having a regional focus. Domains that have run Connectathons include:

  • Eye Care
  • Radiation Oncology

Why Do You Want to Run a Connectathon?

There are a number of reasons for organizations to sponsor and run Connectathons. Some of these are:

  1. Interoperability testing at the national, regional or domain level is a benefit to the industry
  2. A country or region is preparing to roll out new initiatives, and the Connectathon will serve as a place to test IHE profiles that are important to those initiatives.
    1. This might include brand new profiles or existing profiles.
  3. Public demonstrations of IHE profiles at conferences require IHE testing in advance of the conference for quality reasons.
  4. A domain that is expanding profiles may desire to have participants test the new features.

What Are the Traditional Roles Associated with Managing a Connectathon?

Sponsor is the organization with overall responsibility for the event. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Application to host the event
  • Selection of profiles for testing
  • Fee setting
  • Call for participation and contracting with participants
  • Logistics (venue, network, travel, staff)

Connectathon Manager is traditionally one person who has responsibility for technical aspects of the event. This person can be a member of the sponsor organization or can be an outside contractor. This manager and sponsor will decide on how to share tasks. One task that the manager typically fills is to serve as the first line of support for technical questions (How is the network configured? What profile/actor pairs should I test? What do I need to complete for successful testing? ....). There is some overlap with the Domain Manager.

Domain Manager In the context of a Connectathon, the Domain Manager is responsible to define and document test cases including the steps and evaluation criteria that are used to test profiles in the assigned domain. This work is done in advance of the event, and the documentation is made available to participants in advance. Domain Managers are frequently at individual Connectathons to administer tests and to answer questions about the tests and/or results.

There are some instances where the Domain Manager for a specific domain might not be present at a Connectathon. In such a case, the Connectathon Manager or other surrogate will fill this role at the event. Common sense dictates that participants may need help resolving questions and will benefit by having a knowledgeable person readily available.

A Domain Manager has responsibilities outside of the Connectathon that lead directly to writing the test cases.

Monitor is a position for someone with relevant experience to review results of individual tests. The number of monitors will depend on the size and scope of the Connectathon. In the traditional event, the Connectathon Manager and/or Domain Manager(s) serve as monitors. Thus, each Connectathon has at least one monitor to review individual tests. In almost all cases, additional monitors are needed as one person cannot review all test cases and provide other support.

How Do I Apply to Sponsor / Run a Connectathon?

Who Is Qualified to Serve as a Connectathon Manager?

How Are Results Reported?

IHE maintains an online database of test results here: Connectathon Results. The web user interface allows viewers to see results using several different filtering methods. Items that are tracked include:

  1. Connectathon Event (Year, Location)
  2. Participating Organization
  3. Domain, Profile and Actor Tested

We do not currently publish:

  • Options that are tested
  • Mention of a specific product
  • Any profile/actor pair where the participant did not have time to complete testing during the Connectathon

The mechanism for putting Connectathon results into the database is a detail to be explained later.

What Software / Hardware Tools are Needed?

Almost all IHE profiles assume network connections, so one needs to provide that connectivity either through the Internet or using a local area network in person. We will provide some network recommendations on other pages, but network connectivity is not hard to provide.

The other software and hardware tools that are used depend on the size and scope of the event. The minimum requirements for a Connectathon include:

  1. Network connectivity
  2. Test definitions
  3. Mechanism to view participant testing (logs, real time observations)
  4. Mechanism to record results.

A domain can run a Connectathon using typical business office software (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Web browser, PDF viewer). Test definitions are published and available to participants on static web pages. Results are recorded using Word or Excel. Final results are tabulated in Excel and submitted back to IHE for publication. No specialized software is required.

A national or regional deployment group may choose to run a Connectathon using the same level of tools that a domain might choose. If the scope of the event (profiles offered, number of participants) is small enough, it might make sense to perform the testing using a more manual process. The important part for a national or regional deployment is to select the proper profiles and have access to the test definitions.

There are a number of specialized software tools that are designed to facilitate Connectathon testing. These include the Gazelle Test Suite from Kereval and a number of other tools from other providers. We will walk you through those other tools including context information.

Reference Material

Some of the tools are managed and installed by the Kereval team. Other tools have been managed and installed at different Connectathons by different managers. The page Connectathon Tool Installation lists some of the non-Kereval tools and includes installation and configuration information.