Sunday, August 22, 2010

Developing HIT Testing Tools

NIST within the Department of Commerce is developing the core health IT testing infrastructure that will provide a scalable, multi-partner, automated, and remote capability for current and future testing needs. As mandated by ARRA, NIST’s “Health IT Standards Testing Infrastructure Project” is developing a suite of software tools to support the infrastructure.

The set of 45 approved test procedures will evaluate all of the components of electronic health records that need to function properly and work interchangeably across systems that are developed by different vendors. Testing laboratories will use these tools in the testing component of the certification programs established by ONC.

The tools once they are tested will help vendors test their health IT products to ensure basic functionality. The testing infrastructure will not only provide testing services, but also support numerous health data standards, provide a component-based user interface, enable user customization, support changing user requirements, and leverage existing testing initiatives.

However, 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 by HHS. Also the testing infrastructure does not perform certifications and does not conduct operational testing.

A “Health IT Standards and Testing” web site has been established at to provide more information on the program and the testing infrastructure suite. The site provides an overview of the program, plus access to the test method needed to meet meaningful use technical requirements and standards, access to the Health IT Implementation Testing and support web site, and provides educational material dealing with conformance and interoperability testing.

To submit input on the suite of software tools to support the health IT testing infrastructure, email