The federally funded Certification Commission for
Health Information Technology' hopes its four proposed href="http://www.cchit.org/vendors/apply/2007+Certification+Proposed+Test+Scripts+and+Data+Files.htm" target="_new">data test files
href="http://www.cchit.org/vendors/apply/2007+Certification+Proposed+Test+Scripts+and+Data+Files.htm" target="_new">data test filesfor
interoperability testing will help diffuse a
controversy that erupted late last year.
The files, posted along with test scripts for the
certification of ambulatory-care electronic medical
records, involve moving results on patients who have
had laboratory work for a complete blood count, hepatic
function, cholesterol and hemoglobin levels.
A CCHIT statement said the data test files were created
using the ELINCS EDGE Tool to develop messages in the
Health Level 7 format that were tested using the HL7
Messaging Work-bench parsers set to HL7 version 2.4 and
HL7 version 2.5.1. According to CCHIT, "The files as
tested using the parsers for both HL7 V2.4 and HL7
V2.5.1 provided the needed information for 2007 CCHIT
testing without error."
Using both an older HL7 version and the newest is an
attempt by CCHIT to settle a dispute that arose last year over
guidelines selected by another federally funded
organization, the Healthcare Information Technology
Standards Panel. In December, the panel anointed a
scheme for lab data transmissions based on HL7 version
2.5, which is scarcely used in the U.S., but would be
needed to meet the requirements set out by the American
Health Information Community, an IT advisory body
established by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.
The selection of version 2.5 elicited a sharp complaint
from the American Clinical Laboratory Association, the
trade group for the reference lab industry, that the
guideline was overly ambitious and could not be met by
existing labs without a great deal of revisions to
their IT systems. The ACLA offered as an alternative
the EHR-Lab Interoperability and Connectivity
Standards, or ELINCS, based on version 2.4 and
developed by a group of labs, payers and provides
organized by the California Healthcare
CCHIT Chairman Mark Leavitt said some "really smart"
CCHIT technical committee members came up with the
"They investigated the situation and found that there
are lab test files that can be read by either 2.4 or
2.5," Leavitt said. "They found a format that is
basically readable by both. It really helped to take
the controversy out of it."
As part of what is being called an "environmental
scan," CCHIT also is requesting input from the IT
community, medical specialty society members and others
on proposed criteria for testing electronic health-records systems either designed or modified to meet the
needs of those medical specialties, care settings or
specific patient populations.
"In most cases, it's going to be just an incremental
change to the criteria we have now," Leavitt said, but
added that specific criteria could be required. "We
recognize that one size doesn't fit all."
Leavitt said CCHIT needs to have the outside comments
by Jan. 12 so they can be reviewed before the
commission meets on Jan. 22.
"We'll go over the data that we get from the
environmental scan and set up a road map to when we
want to address these special areas," Leavitt said.What do you think? Write us with your
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