The following release appeared a few days ago.
November 12, 2008 (Toronto, ON) - Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) today unveiled plans for a new certification service to help emerging consumer health solutions complement and leverage Canada's investments in e-health solutions.
"As Canada's health informatics industry evolves, it is essential that emerging solutions leverage the investments and progress made in every province and territory that are implementing electronic health records," said Richard Alvarez, president and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. "The launch of our new certification service will help the vendor community to develop new products accordingly, and provide buyers and users of those systems with some assurances the solutions are of high quality."
The new service will provide developers with greater market access, improve the quality of products they develop and enhance testing efficiencies.
Organizations investing in certified solutions can expect a higher degree of confidence that the products they purchase are reliable, interoperable, private and secure.
"We are pleased Infoway is moving forward with certification of health information technology solutions," said Elaine McKnight, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Sector IM/IT Division, B.C. Ministry of Health. "Having an offering of certified solutions to choose from will help speed implementation and adoption of private, secure and interoperable EHR technologies."
Infoway will formally launch the certification service in early 2009, at which point it will accept applications for certification from developers of consumer health platforms.
"Canadians want electronic access to their personal health information, which is an important part of managing chronic illness and preventing its onset," added Alvarez. "As health IT vendors develop solutions to address this demand, it is essential that they are reliable, safeguard patient privacy and can interoperate with the core elements of the electronic health record infostructure that provinces and territories are implementing in collaboration with Infoway throughout Canada."
Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these secure systems will provide clinicians and patients with the information they need to better support safe care decisions and manage their own health. Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.
The complete release is found here:
This is an important initiative as it encourages interoperation between the various sectors and actors within the Canadian Health System. Canada has, of course, a published set of standards, architectures and selected products for their EHR initiatives and this additional work will nicely complement work undertaken to date.
In Australia NEHTA has been talking about both enterprise architecture and certification for a couple of years – but to date not much seems to have actually been progressed to implementation. An example of suggestions of the need for the work is here:
NEHTA maps out strategy
Karen Dearne | October 30, 2007
THE National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) will usher in a "more transparent and consultative approach" over the coming year, the organisation's chair Uschi Schreiber said.
Ms Schreiber said the current review of NEHTA's progress will assist the board in "framing more precisely the future evolution of e-health in Australia".
"Steps towards a national SEHR include improving the ability for healthcare providers to electronically send discharge summaries and referrals, prescriptions, pathology requests and reports," NEHTA said in its report.
"Work in these areas now form the focus of our 2007-08 program, which will also see the presentation of the business case for the SEHR to the Council of Australian Governments in early 2008.
"During the next 12 months we will progress NEHTA's approach to certification, conformance and accreditation - an important element in ensuring NEHTA's specifications and recommendations are adopted."
While there had been some employee turnover in the past year, the organisation's growing work program had seen a concerted focus on recruiting IT specialists and health professionals.
Full article here
A quick look at this article, from just over a year ago, shows just how glacial things have actually been with both the SEHR (now IEHR for some as yet unexplained reason) and other goals (messaging etc) running very late indeed.
Certification of both messaging interoperability and software quality and interoperability really matter – we should not still be waiting.