Interoperability Testing Critical for Health Information Exchange

Q&A with Aegis.Net on Interoperability

Mary Mosquera
Senior Editor, Government Health IT

Aegis.Net Inc. recently was selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish a health IT test infrastructure that verifies conformance and interoperability with industry standards as part of meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs).

The NIST $6.25 million contract award is one example of the recognition and rising importance of testing for interoperability to make sure that health IT systems have standards in place according to specifications and can effectively exchange information.

The initial emphasis of the NIST contract will be on testing the standards for meaningful use, but it will also provide test tools to support electronic health record communication and electronic clinical document exchanges, such as for e-prescribing, lab results, immunization and patient administration, as health care moves in that direction, according to a recent NIST announcement in Federal Business Opportunities.

In another testing effort, is partnering with the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) to use its testing software, the Aegis Developers Integration Lab, to test interoperability for the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup an effort led by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) that includes 15 states and 34 health information exchanges (HIEs). Aegis will work with CCHIT to make sure that the interfaces are consistent between the health IT and HIEs across multiple states and systems.

The open source Developers Integration Lab (DIL) is the heart of Aegis’ testing, according to Mario Hyland, senior vice president and founder of Rockville, Md.-based Aegis.Net Inc. Hyland spoke with Government Health IT while at the Oct. 17 conference of the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA), a non-profit organization formed to modernize VistA for open source and to contribute to the VA-Defense Department’s integrated electronic health record (iEHR). is a participant.

GHIT: Why is interoperability so complicated?

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