The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) working with a broad array of public and private stakeholders released the first of four installments for a new health IT test method and related software. Late last year, HHS identified the required technology standards and requirements needed to help physicians evaluate possible health IT systems against the requirements.
As mandated by ARRA, NIST and HHS are working with health IT system vendors, and with standards organizations such as the American National Standards Institute, Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel, and with certification bodies and system implementers to develop a suite of software tools to support the HIT testing infrastructure. The tools are intended to help vendors test their health IT products and to ensure basic functionality.
The health IT testing infrastructure does not create any new standards, but only creates the tools necessary to test for compliance with existing standards as announced last year. Testing laboratories will use these tools in the testing component of the certification programs established by ONC. ONC plans to use NIST’s National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program to perform the accreditation for testing laboratories.
A new Health IT Standards and Testing web site has been established at http://healthcare.nist.gov/ to provide more information on the program and initiatives underway. The site also provides access to test methods used.