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IHE North American Connectathon and Conference 2013 Introduces New Features to Advance Health Information Exchange

CHICAGO – (February 6, 2013) – A significant new step was taken toward the interoperability of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) with the introduction of a pilot Certification Program at the IHE North American (NA) Connectathon and Conference, which concluded last week. The Connectathon testing event drew over 500 of the industry’s top engineers, while the one- day educational conference attracted well over 125 participants.

A new IHE USA Pilot Certification program was introduced during the IHE NA Connectathon 2013, which concluded last week. Also featured was testing for eight IHE International Domains and Health Level 7’s Consolidated CDA.

“The overwhelming majority of attendees at the IHE NA Connectathon Conference 2013 were first time attendees. This demonstrates the importance of interoperability and the essential role of IHE in enabling the meaningful use of health information technology. Connecting key stakeholders with the tools and resources they need to achieve interoperable systems is essential for enabling quality care,” noted Joyce Sensmeier, RN-BC, MS, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, President, IHE USA.

IHE USA partnered with ICSA Labs to launch a new IHE Certification Program for health IT systems.. Using an accredited, standards-based certification program, IHE USA will be able to certify that systems are, in fact, interoperable against established criteria.

“The IHE USA Certification Pilot Program, implemented in partnership with ICSA Labs, was a resounding success. A dozen vendors participated in this inaugural effort that complements existing testing of IHE integration profiles at the Connectathon. This accredited, standards-based Certification program will greatly enhance the value of IHE Integration profiles in products that are available in the marketplace.” says Ms. Sensmeier. “We look forward to leveraging feedback from the pilot to augment future efforts that demonstrate IHE’s role in advancing interoperable standards-based systems,” she added.

Eight of the participants at the Connectathon were registered for certification testing on over 70 profiles. Results are being evaluated by the ICSA Labs Certification Body, 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 industry-standard system surveillance activities that ensure that certified products continue to perform as tested, over time.

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 amongst disparate systems
• Tier 3: Validated Implementations of deployed certified technology

“The Certification Program will benefit the purchasers and end users of the products that have proven IHE capabilities,” noted Amit Trivedi, Program Manager, ICSA Labs.

This year, in addition to the Certification Program, another new feature was added to the IHE NA Connectathon: testing of HL7’s Consolidated CDA standard.

The HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) is a document markup standard that specifies the structure and semantics of “clinical documents” for the purpose of exchange. For testing at the Connectathon, the HL7 Consolidated CDA (C-CDA) offered a combined library of CDA templates and common document types, from progress notes to discharge summaries and more. C- CDA is now stipulated in Standards and Certification Criteria of Meaningful Use Stage 2.

“Over two dozen vendors signed up to test 27 systems for C-CDA – including a diverse group of EMR, document imaging and HIE vendors.  After knocking on the virtual doors of EMR and HIE vendors for years encouraging acceptance of CDA document types, I have to say that the Health Story members are thrilled about the potential uptake of C-CDA and its role in contributing to comprehensive electronic patient stories,” said Joy Kuhl, Executive Director of the Health Story Project.

Over 500 of the industry’s top engineers attended the largest interoperability testing event in the U.S. The Connectathon, which is the health IT industry’s only large-scale face-to-face testing event had over 100 vendors and 160 test systems, demonstrating powerful advancements in health IT. Approximately 70,000 sq. feet of the Hyatt Regency basement was occupied for the testing. There were attendees from 11 countries—including Austria, Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.

Introduced in 1999, the IHE Connectathon has been an annual event with continued growth in the level and scope of participation. A parallel event in Europe was established in 2001 and has followed a similar trajectory.

IHE Connectathons are professionally managed and independently monitored testing events. A technical project management team develops detailed test plans for each role being tested at the Connectathon and organizes the process to maximize interoperability testing between corresponding systems from different vendors. Independent monitors observe and record test results, which are published in the Connectathon results database.

About IHE USA
IHE USA (www.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 national health information networks in the United States, all in a manner consistent with participation in the activities of IHE International, Inc.

About IHE International
IHE International, Inc. (www.ihe.net) is the global hub of the IHE initiative, a multi-stakeholder effort started in 1997 to promote the effective use of electronic health records and health information technology (HIT) by driving the adoption of standards-based solutions for interoperability. IHE International brings together HIT experts and stakeholders in more than a dozen clinical and operational domains to develop implementation guides called IHE Profiles that define the use of standards to address specific HIT interoperability needs. It also oversees a process of testing that fosters the adoption of IHE Profiles in real-world HIT products and care settings. IHE interoperability solutions are implemented in hundreds of products and in care sites around the world.

February 11, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

ICSA Labs Among First to Achieve ANSI Guide 65 Accreditation as Electronic Health Record Certification Body

Today ICSA Labs announced it is one of the first organizations to receive accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a Health IT certification body.

This accreditation allows ICSA Labs to apply for ONC authorization to certify Electronic Health Records (EHR) for Stage 2 Meaningful Use testing, which is anticipated to begin this fall.

ICSA Labs tests EHRs based on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) “meaningful use” criteria, which ensure that EHRs are used by health care facilities to promote quality care, reduce health care operational costs and protect private patient information.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon, has received accreditation from the American National Standards Institute as a Health IT certification body.  This accreditation allows ICSA Labs to apply for authorization from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to certify electronic health records for Stage 2 Meaningful Use testing, which is anticipated to begin this fall.

ICSA Labs offers an EHR certification and testing program that evaluates and certifies EHR technology, based on HSS’ “meaningful use” requirements. These requirements ensure that EHRs used by health care facilities are helping to promote quality care, reduce health care operational costs and protect private patient information. ICSA Labs is currently authorized to test and certify EHR technology as part of the Stage 1 Temporary Certification program.

“With the ANSI accreditation, ICSA Labs has demonstrated its capabilities as an unbiased and credible certification body,” said Lane Hallenbeck, vice president, accreditation services, for the American National Standards Institute. “This validates ICSA Labs’ independent quality-management systems and overall competency to certify health information technology.”

Amit Trivedi, health care program manager for ICSA Labs, said, “ICSA Labs is looking forward to continuing our role as a trusted third-party certifying secure and interoperable EHR technology that supports health care providers in meeting today’s federal requirements.  This accreditation demonstrates our commitment to quality and excellence.”

The Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information.  The ONC’s Permanent Certification Program, which provides authorization for the certification of electronic health care records, was established in January 2011.

About ANSI

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. The Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 125,000 companies and organizations and 3.5 million professionals worldwide. The Institute is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and is a U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

About ICSA Labs

ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon (NYSE, Nasdaq:VZ), 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 9001:2008 registered organization. Visit http://www.icsalabs.com and http://www.icsalabs.com/blogs for more information.

August 5, 2012 I Written By

ICSA Labs Certifies First Hospital Under Its Electronic Health Record Testing Program – #HIMSS12

Today ICSA Labs, a vendor-neutral testing and certification firm, announced its first electronic health record (EHR) certification of a hospital. The hospital, Via Christi Health, demonstrated that its custom software complies with standards set forth by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT for EHRs.

This certification also shows that Via Christi Health’s software follows patient-care best practices and enables the secure exchange of patient records. Via Christi Health is great example of how certification for EHRs promotes technology use in a meaningful way to allow for better economics and improved access to patient information.

Kansas-Based Via Christi Health Earns EHR Certification for Custom Solution

LAS VEGAS – At the HIMSS Conference today, ICSA Labs announced its first certification of an IT system that is currently deployed by a hospital.  The hospital, Via Christi Health, earned the certification under ICSA Labs’ electronic health record program.  Previous certifications had been limited to commercial off-the-shelf and open-source solutions.

Via Christi Health, which provides a network of health care services via hospitals, doctors, specialty clinics and senior centers in Wichita and south central Kansas, demonstrated that its custom software is compliant with standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for electronic health records. This certification from ICSA Labs demonstrates that Via Christi Health‘s software follows patient-care best practices and enables the secure exchange of patient records.

Via Christi Health uses its internally developed health IT software to help manage patient records throughout its facilities. In preparing to earn its ONC certification, Via Christi Health had to decide whether to invest in new software that was already certified or to certify and use the custom software the hospital system already had in place.

“Certifying our own software not only proved more cost effective for Via Christi Health, it was significantly less disruptive for our doctors and caregivers,” said Dave Gestenslager, application architecture manager, Via Christi Health. “Instead of asking our doctors to switch to a new solution, our physicians were able to continue to use software with which they were already familiar. This enabled them to focus on delivering excellent patient care, instead of learning new technology.”

Amit Trivedi, health care program manager, ICSA Labs, said: “By certifying its own software versus transitioning to new software, Via Christi Health is a great example of how certification for electronic health records promotes technology use in a meaningful way to allow for better economics and improved access to patient information. The testing of custom EHR solutions for eligible providers and hospitals like Via Christi Health enables physicians and staff to effectively use certified health technology.”

ICSA Labs is designated as an Authorized Testing and Certification Body by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and is authorized to test complete EHR solutions as well as modular ones that address a specific IT function. To learn more or enter a product into the testing process, visit ICSA Labs’ Electronic Health Record Testing and Certification page.

NOTE: During HIMSS, follow us on Twitter @icsalabs and @verizonbusiness, hashtag #VZHIMSS. Visit us on Facebook for all the latest show activity.  

About ICSA Labs

ICSA Labs, 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 9001:2008 registered organization. Visit http://www.icsalabs.com and http://www.icsalabs.com/blogs for more information.

About Via Christi Health

Via Christi Health, a Catholic-sponsored ministry affiliated with Marian Health System and Ascension Health, is the largest provider of health care services in Kansas. Via Christi employs more than 10,000 in its hospitals, senior villages, physician offices and health services. In fiscal year 2011, it provided more than $82 million in community benefit to those it serves, including the poor. Visit viachristi.org.

About Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), 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 109 million total 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 $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

February 22, 2012 I Written By