For members of the media and other stakeholders interested in reading quotes from Workgroup leaders.
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 are consistent across multiple states.Join us
The EHR | HIE Interoperability Workgroup is a coalition of 19 States (representing nearly 50% of the U.S. population), 21 EHR vendors, and 22 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, the New York eHealth Collaborative (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:
Healtheway is a non-profit organization chartered to operationally support the eHealth Exchange, formerly the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) Exchange, as it transitioned from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) initiative to a public-private endeavor. Healtheway leads in cross-industry collaboration to develop implementation strategies that enable secure, interoperable nationwide exchange of health information. The eHealth Exchange is a rapidly growing community of exchange partners, who share information under a common trust framework and a common set of rules. Currently, 34 participants include 4 federal agencies, 5 states, 8 beacon communities and more than a dozen Health Information Organizations (HIOs) and health systems, which represent hundreds of hospitals, thousands of providers and millions of patients.
Healtheway and the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup formed a strategic partnership to enable technology systems, public and private providers and health information organizations (HIOs) to have access to more efficient testing.
The coalition harmonized a set of functional, technical and test specifications that enable true plug and play connectivity to simplify EHR and HIE development. The coalition’s work covers the ability to send and receive encrypted health information over the Internet, lookup and retrieve patient records, and produce a tightly constrained patient record summary which reduces variances and implementation-specific customization. These capabilities will allow providers to meet their goals for coordinating patient care.
The coalition selected the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), the most experienced HIT certification organization in the U.S., to carry out the testing. As the compliance testing body, CCHIT will certify that the interfaces between the HIT and HIEs are consistent across multiple states and systems. CCHIT is also an Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) authorized certification body and is an accredited testing laboratory for EHRs.
The testing program will be piloted and quickly followed with an initial wave of testing of the first set of systems and HIE implementations in late 2012. The program is targeted to be available on a wide-scale basis in early 2013.
The coalition designed the compliance testing program to align with and compliment the national strategy established by ONC. To that end, the Compliance Testing Program:
Click here for a list of current members of the workgroup.