The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has approved a HIMSS testing method for the health IT certification program that can now serve as an alternative to the current National Coordinator-approved method for testing transmissions to immunization registries.
ONC announced in a blog post that the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has successfully demonstrated that its testing method, as part of the Immunization Integration Program, has been approved as the second alternative testing method as part of the health IT certification process.
As outlined by Steven Posnack, ONC director, office of standards and technology, in August, the federal health IT agency published a blog post that discussed its five-year goal to transition and diversify the ONC Health IT Certification Program’s testing portfolio. ONC took a first step toward this goal in June when it Ok’d the NCQA’s testing method for eCQMs. Now, with the National Coordinator’s approval of the HIMSS-IIP testing method, it has added a second into the mix, which in this case is the result of a public-private partnership between HIMSS, its partners, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The newly approved HIMSS-IIP testing method leverages the open-source testing tool developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for ONC’s 2015 Edition certification criteria. It also includes additional validations for clinical workflow, reliability, and data above and beyond the baseline required for the purposes of the 2015 Edition, Posnack opined.
Specifically, the HIMSS Immunization Integration Program—conducted in collaboration with ICSA Labs and Chicksaw Health Consulting under a contract with the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases—is advancing the inclusion of immunization-related capabilities within EHRs (electronic health records) and other clinical software by: facilitating agreement on priority immunization-related software capabilities that align with clinical workflows; enabling software developers to voluntarily test and achieve recognition of their products under the HIMSS-IIP; and providing guidance for improving usability of immunization-related software functions.
Integrating immunization-related capabilities within EHRs and other clinical software is expected to improve clinical and patient decision-making by providing more timely access to immunization histories and forecasts and supporting information sharing between EHRs and immunization registries, according to HIMSS officials.
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