Health IT Testing Program will Enable Health Data Sharing for More than Half of U.S. Patients and their Providers

More than half the U.S. population and their healthcare providers could soon have access to health data shared across multiple states and systems. A public-private partnership of states, public agencies, federally-funded HIEs and health information technology companies has established a program to test and certify EHRs and other health IT to enable reliable transfer of data within and across organizational and state boundaries. The coalition selected the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) to carry out the testing.

High costs, technical differences and long wait times for interface development are barriers to sharing health data among health care providers and across state lines. The coalition of 15 states, 37 technology vendors and 34 HIEs, representing more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, has created a robust, highly automated testing program to verify that, once tested, a 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.

The effort is being jointly led by the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup, a New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC)–led consortium of states and vendors; and Healtheway, the newly formed public-private partnership of the eHealth Exchange, a network of 34 public and private organizations representing hundreds of hospitals, thousands of providers and millions of patients across the country.