HIMSS has announced a new program for interoperability testing and certification. Called ConCert by HIMSS, it is designed to promote the secure exchange of patient data across electronic health records, health information exchanges, and health information services providers.

The new program is based on work by the EHR/IHE Interoperability Workgroup and IHE USA. It will offer providers an independent seal of approval attesting that systems for purchase meet the interoperability standards recognized by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. ICSA Labs will serve as the testing and certification body for the program. HIMSS is launching the program at its annual conference and exhibition taking place this week in Chicago. 

“ConCert by HIMSS will attest to secure and reliable health information exchange between EHR and HIE products for both direct and query-based exchange,” said Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics, HIMSS North America. “This voluntary testing and certification program will increase clarity in the marketplace and create the ‘pull’ for interoperability that we are lacking today by simplifying the process. Providers will now be able to identify certified interoperable products. And vendors that are certified through this program will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

The program will consist of three subgroups, each addressing a different piece of the interoperability puzzle:

  1. ConCert by HIMSS EHR certifies electronic health record (EHR) systems. Certification requires support for both query-based exchange and direct exchange with the addition of the provider directory. 
  2. ConCert by HIMSS HIE certifies health information exchange (HIE) vendor systems. Certification requires query-based exchange.
  3. ConCert by HIMSS HISP certifies health information services provider (HISP) systems. Certification requires direct exchange. 

HIMSS reports that nine companies have committed to completing certification testing in 2015, including:

  • iPatientCare
  • Cerner
  • Corepoint Health
  • Greenway Health
  • Infor Healthcare
  • InterSystems
  • MEDfx
  • NextGen
  • Pulse Systems

Representatives will be on hand at a number of sessions during the conference to discuss the new program. A list of sessions is available at the ConCert event page.

HIMSS is also recruiting industry leaders and stakeholders to serve on an advisory committee established to set the future direction for the program. The call for participation is open until May 10. For more information, visit the Concert by HIMSS information page.