IHE, ICSA labs team for interoperability

Program offers certification, assurance of data security

IHE USA, a nonprofit organization that drives adoption of standards-based interoperability to improve patient care, and ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon, today unveiled a new certification program aimed at assuring the security and interoperability of health information technology.

The program will provide industry-accepted certification to complement existing conformance testing to IHE integration profiles to ensure that different software and systems can securely connect. 

Certification to these profiles, which also provide significant underpinnings to Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) specifications, will give purchasers of health IT products independent, third-party assurance that there is a standardized, repeatable process that ensures products are suitable for secure health data exchange, and that the products function as intended.

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“Implementing products certified to the IHE profiles will allow health care providers and hospitals to take advantage of more complex workflows that can make a huge difference in applying information technology to health care,” said Joyce Sensmeier, president of IHE USA and vice president of Informatics at HIMSS. “Right now, a lot of products cannot ‘talk’ to each other, which makes it very challenging for health care providers to move to a paperless environment.”  

Participants who are registered for the 2013 NA Connectathon, sponsored by IHE USA, will be able to register for certification testing at the event. Results will be evaluated by ICSA Labs, which will grant certification based on requirements set forth by IHE USA and the general principles covered by ISO/IEC Guide 65 for organizations providing product certification. Certification also will include ongoing testing to ensure that certified products continue to perform as tested.

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“Given our decades of experience as an independent testing and certification entity and as an ONC Authorized Certification Body, ICSA Labs is fully committed to accelerating the adoption of secure, and interoperable health information technology furthering the goal of improving patient safety and care,” said ICSA Labs Managing Director George Japak. “Our new joint certification will have a significant impact on ensuring that the vision of health IT becomes a reality.”

Certified products will be published by IHE USA, as well as in the official ICSA Labs product directory. Three tiers of certification will be awarded:

  • Tier 1: Conformance to IHE profiles
  • Tier 2: Demonstrated interoperability among disparate systems
  • Tier 3: Validated implementations of deployed certified technology

More information on certification is available here.

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