IHE Certification and Vendor Collaboration at HIMSS13

After enjoying HIMSS13 last week, I am writing one blog per day this week reviewing the sessions which I thought were most insightful. This is the fourth blog in the series.

In general, the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase seemed to be consistently filled with more attendees this year than in any of the previous years. This coming after a record participation by vendors in the North America IHE Connectathon, a prerequisite to presenting a product at the showcase. The showcase floor had its own theaters for presentations, and on Tuesday afternoon I sat through a presentation on IHE Certification.

ICSA Labs is the certifying body that partnered with IHE to offer certification of some of the key profiles utilized in exchanging patient data. Amit Trivedi was the speaker from ICSA Labs and he discussed how certification is beneficial in moving the healthcare industry to more interoperable exchange of data.

The pilot of the certification program took place this year at the North America IHE Connectathon in February. The certification program aims to complement the value of peer-to-peer Connectathon testing through additional rigor. By following ISO testing standards, the industry can be ensured that the certification represents the highest possible quality. And with quality and rigor, providers utilizing the certified applications can be more confident that the peer-to-peer exchange will be robust.

ICSA Labs also discussed the availability of certification testing. Although the pilot was conducted concurrently with Connectathon for 2013, it will not be tied only to the Connectathon event in the future. ICSA Labs will develop tools so that testing can be conducted throughout the year. An application with new support for a profile need not wait until the annual Connectathon event to test with industry partners, but can immediately become certified throughout the year.

The continuous availability to test, along with the testing rigor that accompanies a certification process, are big steps for the industry to ensure healthcare providers are truly implementing interoperable solutions.

Below is a video recorded live on the North American Connectathon test floor, with details about specific profiles used for peer-to-peer exchange:

For complete information on the certification program, you can view the press release here.