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HIT Certification: Background

With the emergence of health information technology (health IT) and the demonstrated benefits of the electronic management of health information, purchasers and other users of health IT systems need to be assured that the systems that will:

  • Provide needed capabilities;
  • Securely manage information and protect confidentially; and
  • Work with other systems without reprogramming

Health IT certification can provide this assurance, increasing confidence that healthcare professionals have in health IT systems when they make purchase decisions and confidence that consumers have that their information is secure and appropriately available. Confidence in health IT systems is an important part of advancing their adoption and allowing for the realization of the benefits of the national health IT agenda.

To accomplish these goals, Health IT certification has established a public-private process to develop specific criteria for health IT systems and to then rigorously evaluate systems to establish that they truly meet these criteria for:

  • Functionality – ensuing that the systems can support the activities and perform the functions for which they are intended
  • Security – ensuring that systems can protect and maintain the confidentiality of data entrusted to them ; and
  • Interoperability – ensuring that system can connect to, and exchange information with, other systems

Certification ensures that healthcare professionals can use health IT on a daily basis to improve the quality of their daily work. Certified health IT products will help reduce the risks of health IT investment by healthcare professionals and help advance the national IT agenda.

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HL7 22nd Plenary and Working Group Meeting
Vancouver, B.C.
September 14 - 19, 2008
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September 23, 2008
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Personal Experiences

"We have hospitals in Afghanistan and Iraq, and many of the soldiers would arrive without records in Germany, with no record of the CAT scans or what happened in surgery in Afghanistan or Iraq. The clinicians in Germany would have to re-operate on the patient, would have to redo all their x-ray evaluations, CAT scans, etc...." ~ Colonel John Holcomb

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