In an effort to better connect electronic health records to health information exchanges, the New York eHealth Collaborative’s EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup has formed a strategic relationship with HIMSS and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) to streamline the process for achieving connectivity between EHR and HIE systems.

According to the organizations, the effort affects more than half the U.S. population and their healthcare providers, with the goal of secure sharing of patient data across multiple states and health IT systems. Specifically, the new alliance is designed to strengthen the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup’s current program to test and certify EHRs and HIE vendors to enable reliable transfer of data within and across organizational and state boundaries.

Created in 2011, the workgroup is a New York-led consortium of 19 states and 47 EHR and HIE vendors to increase the adoption of EHRs and HIEs by eliminating “interface” cost and time barriers. As part of this new voluntary testing and certification program, Mechanicsburg, Penn.-based ICSA Labs has been selected as the testing and certification body for the initiative. The lab presently certifies EHRs under the meaningful use program.

“This joint effort will help pave the way for health information to be exchanged seamlessly between systems, allowing clinicians and health systems to more easily and securely share patient data,” said Dave Whitlinger, executive director of the New York-eHealth Collaborative, the coordinator of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York. “By making it easier for electronic health record systems to communicate, this new collaboration will help fulfill the promise of health information exchange, improving patient care and lowering healthcare costs.”

For its part, IHE will bring to this alliance the specifications that form the foundation of interoperability, industry expertise and support, as well as experience in system-to-system and product testing.

Additional information about this new testing and certification program is available here.

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