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HIMSS: Health information exchange pilot to begin soon

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Testing will include states, public agencies, federally funded exchanges and health information technology companies covering more than 50% of the U.S. population.

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has announced that it soon will launch the pilot phase of a new health information exchange compliance testing program that will involve more than 50% of the U.S. population through a collaboration of states, public agencies, federally funded exchanges and health information technology (HIT) companies. A related certification program is set to begin in the spring.

The program's components:

  • HIE Certified Community-for electronic health records (EHRs) and other HIT systems that will enable state-wide patient data inquiry allowing clinicians to query an health information exchange for information on specific patients;

  • HIE Certified Direct-a way for providers to send secure health information directly to trusted recipients, including patients, over the Internet; and

  • HIE Certified Network-for exchange-to-exchange connectivity and for connection to the eHealth Exchange.

The pilot program is for the HIE Certified Network. Healtheway, the public-private partnership of the eHealth Exchange, and the EHR/health information exchange Interoperability Workgroup, a consortium of states and vendors, established the program to test and certify EHRs and other HIT to enable reliable transfer of data within and across organizational and state boundaries. The partnership selected CCHIT as the compliance testing body.

Certification will be specific to each technology and its version and will include testing of commercially available products, healthcare provider participants, and health information exchanges.

"For the first time, providers and purchasers of EHR systems and health information exchange will have a simple way of assuring their system has all the capabilities required for plug and play interoperability," says Dave Whitlinger, executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative. "In New York, vendors will be required to pass the compliance testing program...to connect to [the Statewide Health Information of New York].

"We're creating a robust, highly automated testing program using an open-source version of the AEGIS Developers Integration Lab tool that relies on a set of specifications created by the partnership. Our aim is to enable true 'plug and play' connectivity to simplify HIT development and reduce the cost of interface development," says Alisa Ray, executive director and chief executive officer, CCHIT. "This will help health IT developers get their technology to market quickly and prepare provider and health information exchange participants share information more efficiently."

In January, CCHIT announced that it had been authorized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to certify EHRs systems for the ONC 2014 HIT certification program.

 

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