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 ICSALabs.com/ihe.
About IHE USA
IHE USA (iheusa.org) is a not-for-profit organization established in 2010 that operates as a deployment committee of IHE International®. The mission of IHE USA is to drive adoption of standards-based interoperability to improve patient care through innovation, standards profiling, testing, education and collaboration. IHE USA improves the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery by supporting the deployment of standards-based electronic health record systems, facilitating the exchange of health information among care providers, both within the enterprise and across care settings, and enabling local, regional and nationwide health information networks in the United States, all in a manner consistent with participation in IHE International, Inc.
About ICSA Labs
ICSA Labs (icsalabs.com), an independent division of Verizon, offers third-party testing and certification of security and health IT products, as well as network-connected devices, to measure product compliance, reliability and performance for many of the world's top security vendors. ICSA Labs is an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited, and a 9001:2008 registered organization. ICSA Labs is an NVLAP Accredited Health IT Testing Lab and ANSI-accredited, ONC-Authorized Certification Body for the Office of the National Coordinator's Health IT Certification program.
Verizon Communications, Inc. (verizon.com), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 99 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with nearly $116 billion in 2012 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 181,900.