2015 Connectathon Countdown: Action Required (NOW!)


Thinking about joining the AEGIS DIL team in attending the 2015 IHE Connecathon?

It’s that time of year again, and we are reminded that this annual January event can really sneak up on you if you don’t start taking action–immediately.

To appreciate why we say “immediately,” take a look at this 2015 Connectathon timeline overview:

Connectathon 2015 TimelinesSystem registration has already opened; registering team member attendance opens in a few days, and system registration closes in just a few weeks, on October 3rd.

This date will be here before we know it, and there is a LOT to do between now and then. First of all, read IHE’s Connectathon Poicy and Guideline document. Carefully. NOW. (I’ll wait. Come back here when done.)

If you are new to the Connectathon, this information can be a bit overwhelming–and perhaps not as clear as it is to Connectathon veterans. We have summarized it here into the activities that are most helpful for keeping us focused on successful preparation:

1. Connectathon System Registration

Obviously this is the most important–and time-critical–step, but there is more to this than just registering physical system(s).

  • This is done in Gazelle, IHE’s Connectathon test management system.
  • Choose which IHE profile(s) and actor(s) your system will be supporting.

Profile selection requires some thought. Unless you are returning to re-test a profile you have tested previously, it will take you some time to decide on which profile(s) you want to test, and which profile actor(s) you will test with.

    • You really need to know that others will also want to test the profile(s) you choose.
      • Don’t assume that your choices will necessarily be of interest to others.
      • If others don’t also choose to test with your chosen profile(s), you will have plenty of time to enjoy the Cleveland waterfront. (Alone … while others are testing their profiles that aren’t yours.)
        • This would be a bad outcome, and we would miss seeing you.
    • NOTE: In our experience, it is easy to drop a profile, but very difficult to add a profile, after registration, so give this some thought. (But hurry.)
  • After entering the rest of the required information, be sure to:
    • Hit Submit [verify button name]
    • Export your Connectathon contract from Gazelle
    • Sign it, and send to IHE for their signatures

CRITICAL STEP: IHE Must receive your signed contract by 11:59 PM EASTERN time on October 3rd, 2014 (10/03/2014), or you will NOT be registered. (This would be a bad outcome.)

  • Also note that your payment is due by Monday, 11/17/2014. Missing this would also be bad.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t wait on this. Start now. (Really. Now. I’ll wait.)

2. Connectathon Attendance Registration

This is how you tell the Connectathon organizers who will be sitting in the chairs at your table.

  • You need to send at least 2 people per system.
    • Don’t assume that these registrations are transferrable. Decide who is going sooner, rather than later.
  • Each person must have a paid badge to be on the testing floor.
    • Buying a weekly badge saves 33 percent over buying five daily badges. Do this.
  • Buy your badges before 11/21.
    • If you wait, badges double in price. Don’t wait.

Buy weekly attendance badges for your team. Save money. This is smart.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t wait on this. Start now. (Really. Now. I’ll wait.)

3. Travel Reservations

You may be noticing a pattern in our recommendations. Travel is no exception–as you already know if you have attended any kind of conference in the past 20 years. Of course, you could play the last-minute-deal travel lottery, but we really don’t recommend it. (This is Cleveland, after all. In the dead of winter.)

But seriously, for the 2015 Connectathon, Cleveland is THE place to be, and it is happening at the new HIMSS Innovation Center, so hotel rooms and airplane seats are going fast. We know. We checked.

Here are some more nuanced tips:

  • Settle quickly on who will be traveling
    • Remember that airlines will not reassign tickets in these modern times
    • Hotels–especially during conferences–have picked up on this, so they may also inflexible about reassigning a room reservation

KEY TAKEAWAY (you guessed it): Don’t wait on this. Start now. (Really. Now. I’ll wait.)

In the next installment in the series, we’ll get deeper into our recommended best practices for success–before and during the Connectathon.

We really hope to see you in Cleveland in January. And when you do see us, be sure to ask us about our “Go Negative” campaign.


About Richard Ettema

Mr. Ettema has more than three decades of experience in software architecture, engineering and consulting. His experience is in application architecture, agile methodologies and helping customers develop, implement and maintain best practices in enterprise software development. Mr. Ettema has worked with small to large private organizations as well as large government organizations developing health care, health insurance, telecom, order entry, customer call tracking, inventory management and financial management applications. Mr. Ettema is the author of AEGIS' public FHIR test client and server, WildFHIR; Senior Architect and Project Lead for AEGIS' FHIR Testing Platform, Touchstone.

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