Healthcare Certification for Data Interoperability

Andrew Froehlich, Network Engineer & IT Consultant | 1/8/2013 | 6 comments

Andrew Froehlich
For years, it was standard practice for healthcare hardware and software vendors to sell proprietary systems that lock healthcare providers into a single vendor end-to-end solution.

Reacting to the calls for assistance from the medical community, IHE USA is taking on the challenge to create a new HIT interoperability certification that will help take much of the guesswork out of compatibility of data between various healthcare systems.

IHE USA is a non-profit organization that is pioneering this new, industry-wide certification that will act as an independent third party, which sets and judges compatibility standards in terms of data interoperability and IT security.

If you broach the topic of interoperability with medical device salespeople, and ask about compatibility with other healthcare systems, they'll likely to tell you that they are fully compatible with just about everything under the sun. While this may technically be true, they often won't tell you how much work it will actually take to achieve a satisfactory level of data interoperability. This is a huge risk that can increase development costs and dramatically slow down implementation times.

Healthcare hardware and software vendors that wish to be certified will have to meet or exceed the set certification standards. If they pass, they will be awarded with the certification that will be publicly published for all to see. Depending on the level of overall interoperability, vendors can be awarded with IHE USA certificates in one of the three following tiers:

  • Tier 1: Conformance to IHE profiles
  • Tier 2: Demonstrated interoperability among disparate systems
  • Tier 3: Validated Implementations of deployed certified technology

This type of interoperability certification is greatly needed in the healthcare industry, but that doesn't mean it will catch on. In order for new certifications to actually mean something, customers must demand it. That's why it's critical that healthcare IT managers be informed of this new certification and begin demanding the certification be met by medical device and software vendors. Otherwise, they won't be considered as a viable vendor.

Only when there is a strong demand will vendors consider applying. Not only will this help streamline project budgeting and timelines, it should also help to streamline and improve overall patient care.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Susan Nunziata   Healthcare Certification for Data Interoperability   1/10/2013 11:14:05 PM
Re: great idea
@Pedro: I agree mandated standards would go a long way to resolving these issues. But the nature of healthcare in the U.S. makes that virtually impossible. Not only is compatibilty between providers a challenge, but there also needs to be compatibility between systems used by health insurers. One way to start would be for the US government to mandate  interoperability for all providers who accept government-issued healthcare (Medicare, Medicad, VA benefits). Perhaps then physicians would pressure technology providers to make true interoperability available. 
kstaron   Healthcare Certification for Data Interoperability   1/10/2013 12:22:34 PM
Increasing the bottom line
One would think this kind of certification would be encouraged by healthcare facilities. By ensuring they have systems that play nice with others it will ultimately mean that more people get treated, staff spend more time on their jobs instead of troubleshooting systems that are less than hospitible towards each other, and that will increase the bottom line.
Andrew Froehlich   Healthcare Certification for Data Interoperability   1/9/2013 8:56:35 AM
Re: great idea
@Dave, unfortunately, this is one of those situations where a slow down may be needed. I think most healthcare organizations are finding that interoperation between systems and data is becoming increasingly important.
User Ranking: Blogger
Pablo Valerio   Healthcare Certification for Data Interoperability   1/8/2013 2:20:35 PM
Re: great idea
Sara, this is where government intervention is required. Without a clear set of standards, for privacy, security and data exchange, it would be difficult to convince the healthcare providers to invest in adapting their existing systems.

I was looking at the UK NHS approach for a blog about granting patients access by 2015, and one of the requirements set by the government is: 

"There should be a clear contractual requirement that all organizations delivering care in the NHS or in adult and child social care have systems that allow full electronic data sharing against set standards. There can be no opt‐out, regardless of whether the provider is in the NHS, private or voluntary and community sector"
User Ranking: Blogger
David Wagner   Healthcare Certification for Data Interoperability   1/8/2013 12:42:02 PM
Re: great idea
I think this is great. But it seems enormously difficult to keep on top of as the health IT field changes. Will it create a slow down in innivation as people try to make their equipment pass the certification by maintaining backward compatability?
Sara Peters   Healthcare Certification for Data Interoperability   1/8/2013 11:23:50 AM
great idea
Thanks for the info, Andrew. I hope this catches on. Although I often see new certifications as extraneous, I think interoperability is something that all CIOs and IT directors value, so I have slightly higher expectations for this cert.

The blogs and comments posted on do not reflect the views of TechWeb,, or its sponsors., TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Andrew Froehlich
Andrew Froehlich   5/6/2014   13 comments
Not all clouds are equal. That's a pretty obvious statement that we can all agree on. Cloud service providers offer differing levels of services, redundancy, and customer service -- all at ...
Andrew Froehlich   4/30/2014   10 comments
In order for enterprise employees to work together as one unified group, they must follow carefully written policies and procedures -- but every once in a while, you may find yourself in ...
Andrew Froehlich   4/22/2014   49 comments
For those of us who study enterprise IT security, last year's Target store hack turned out to be a fantastic case study that was loaded with lessons to learn.
Andrew Froehlich   4/16/2014   22 comments
With news that Google slashed the price of their big-data offering "Big Query" by up to 85 percent, one has to wonder if the move is to ward off competitors -- or simply that the ...
Andrew Froehlich   3/18/2014   27 comments
At a recent South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Edward Snowden said the NSA is "setting fire to the future of the Internet." In light of this, the World Wide Web ...
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video

On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments

Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments

The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments

TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments

Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments

IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments

TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments

TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments

The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments

Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments

New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments

The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments

We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments

Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments

Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments

Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments

On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments

Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments

A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments

VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments

Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments

Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments

Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments

The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.