A healthcare certification program — launched early this year to help address one of the industry’s most challenging issues, the incompatibility of many software and IT systems – has certified the first group of health IT products. Under the pilot program, a joint initiative of IHE USA and ICSA Labs, the products met rigorous testing requirements for security and interoperability.
The certified products are offered by eight health-IT vendors: Baxter Healthcare Corporation, B. Braun Medical Inc., CareFusion Corporation, Corepoint Health, Greenway Medical Technologies Inc., Hospira Inc., InterSystems Corporation and Masimo Corporation.
Products were tested and certified to meet requirements in the IHE Patient Care Device or IHE IT infrastructure domains (more info here) – which specify capabilities related to medical device interoperability, clinical-document sharing, patient identification, audit logging and security.
The certification by IHE USA, a nonprofit organization formed in 2010 to drive adoption of standards of interoperability in healthcare, also builds on specifications of the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. As a result, the certification gives purchasers of health IT products independent third-party verification that products are suitable for health data exchange and function as intended. In this way, healthcare professionals can have timely and secure access to health information, leading to improved overall patient safety.
The certification program was announced at the 2013 IHE North American Connectathon in January. The initiative stemmed from a growing concern among healthcare IT organizations that today’s software, medical devices and IT systems are often incompatible, making the secure sharing of health data a complicated and expensive endeavor.
“Products that are certified for IHE USA interoperability bring tremendous value to the entire healthcare ecosystem,” said Joyce Sensmeier, president of IHE USA and vice president of informatics at HIMSS. “As an industry, we need to set a high bar if we are to rise to the challenge of transforming our healthcare system. For the health IT vendors that have achieved IHE USA certification, this means their integration capabilities go beyond minimum federal requirements to deliver more robust, high-quality, standards-based products.”
The IHE USA Certification Program aims to expand beyond traditional electronic health record systems to include domains such as patient-care devices, lab, radiology, cardiology, dentistry and eye care.
“IHE USA Certified products benefit purchasers, system developers and, ultimately, patients,” said Amit Trivedi, healthcare program manager at ICSA Labs. “There is a dizzying array of products and systems to choose from, and IHE USA Certification by ICSA Labs can be a differentiating factor to make a more informed decision when selecting the right health IT product to implement.”
The certification program will expand by utilizing virtual testing events this fall, leading up to the 2014 IHE North American Connectathon to be held Jan. 27-31 in Chicago.
For more information on certification and IHE USA Certified products, visit www.icsalabs.com/ihe.