The EHR | HIE Interoperability Workgroup is a New York eHealth Collaborative-led coalition of 19 States (representing 52% of the U.S. population), 23 EHR vendors, and 24 HIE vendors. The workgroup was launched in February 2011 to leverage existing standards and develop consistent implementation guides for interoperability between HIE software platforms, and the applications that interface with them. The goal of the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup is to create an integrated marketplace of EHR capabilities, in which the interfaces between EHRs and HIEs will be compatible more easily across and between states.
Currently, because there is no single set of standards to connect various information exchanges, custom interfaces must be developed with virtually every new effort in the field. The development of these interfaces drastically increases cost and time spent by physicians, HIEs, and vendors alike. This has limited both adoption of EHRs, and usage of HIE services.
Realizing that merging efforts with other states would create economies of scale and provide the vendor community with a single, consistent set of specifications, NYeC created the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup last year. Commitment to common standards creates a larger potential market and a clearer development roadmap for vendors. Vendor collaboration and commitment to common APIs, and certification of a common HIE platform, creates a potentially larger opportunity for all of them by guaranteeing interoperability.
This effort builds on and accelerates consensus on national standards, adopting EHR certification criteria and testing procedures as relevant and finalized for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. Members of the Workgroup provide feedback from real-world implementations to the national health IT standard setting initiatives established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
The workgroup has developed a set of specifications that will ultimately allow for “out-of-the-box” EHR connectivity, to simplify and align the process of EHR and HIE development. The first set of functional, technical, and test specifications developed by the workgroup focus on two use-cases. The technical specifications include:
- Statewide Send and Receive Patient Record Exchange allows encrypted health information to be transmitted over the internet (Direct Exchange)
- Statewide Patient Data Inquiry Service allows clinician to query an HIE for relevant data on a specific patient (Patient Record Lookup)
- Continuity of Care Document (CCD): Complements and constrains ONC specifications (C32/C83) to reduce variances and state-specific customization
Compliance Program Launched
What is the HIE Certified Program?
HIE Certified is a program that tests and certifies electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange products (HIEs) to enable reliable transfer of data within and across organizational and state boundaries.
The robust, highly automated testing program will verify that, once tested, an HIT system is capable of exchanging health information with many other systems. With this testing, a single set of standardized, easy-to-implement connections can support communication among systems.
What Are the Goals?
The goal of the HIE Certified program is to reduce adoption barriers due to high interface costs for providers, low reliability, and unknown development costs for HIT vendors. To accomplish this, the IWG has developed a program which seeks to achieve three goals:
- Create a compliance process with technical rigor that provides market assurance and technical clarity in compliant products
- Produce a compliance process that balances needs for strong technical standards with low cost/low complexity testing wherever possible
- Through combination of certified hard code and configurable standards, provide a market of “Plug and Play” products
How Does HIE Certified Align to Other Standards?
The IWG designed the compliance testing program to align with and complement the national strategy established by ONC. To that end, the Compliance Testing Program:
- Includes a technology certification component, building upon the EHR certification program established by ONC to support Meaningful Use
- Utilizes an accredited and authorized testing laboratory and certification body, leveraging the strategy implemented for the EHR certification program
- Verifies conformance with national standards
- Leverages other national programs and standards and work from the ONC Standards & Interoperability (S&I) Framework Initiatives, eHealth Exchange (formerly NwHIN), and the IHE Technical framework specifications of IHE USA
- Send and receive encrypted information via the Internet
- Lookup and retrieve a patient record
- Prepare a tightly constrained patient record summary to minimize options that are open to interpretation
What is Tested?
The test specifications address the major use cases of data exchange, including the ability to:
Why Are Certification Seals Essential?
The HIE Certification seals signify compliance and proof of “plug and play” interoperability which eliminates the need for EHR and HIE vendors to create a custom interface to connect with each other. These seals make it very easy for providers and other purchasers to know which products meet the interoperability standards thereby supporting care coordination and other efforts and reducing cost.
When Can Vendors Get Their Products Certified?
The HIE Certified Community and the HIE Certified Direct testing programs are currently under development and are expected to launch in Q1 2014. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current members of the workgroup include:
|Kentucky||DeFran Systems||GSI Health|
|Virginia||NextGen||Misys OS Solutions|
|West Virginia||Nortec Software||NextGate|
|Vitera Health||Orion Health|