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ICSA Labs ready to take EHR certification, interoperability reins

Brian Eastwood | March 7, 2014
ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon, is now the largest government-approved EHR testing and certification body. The organization has aspirations beyond meaningful use, though, and hopes to drive healthcare IT vendors toward interoperability and innovation.

That expertise will likely extend beyond EHR systems, Knighton says. As mobile devices continue to permeate healthcare organizations, security, privacy and interoperability testing - largely absent from meaningful use - will take on added importance. After all, devices that can't communicate with one another won't improve outcomes or patient safety, Knighton says.

This will pertain to patient engagement as well, she adds. As patients grow up with technology, they will expect more from physicians. Specifically, they will want data collected from their personal health devices to be exported to the clinical systems their physicians use, Knighton says, and they'll want to communicate with their doctors on a regular basis. An inability to do this puts pressure on healthcare providers, which in turn puts pressure on vendors, she says.

ICSA Labs Hopes to 'Be Transformational'
Beyond interoperability and meaningful use, Knighton says ICSA Labs is keeping tabs on the technology behind the accountable care organization (ACO) model. As of yet, there's no specific certification program for ACO technology - which requires a level of interoperability and health information exchange beyond even the third stage meaningful use - but Knighton says ICSA Labs wants to remain in a position where it can drive healthcare IT innovation.

That, in part, explains why ICSA Labs entered healthcare in the first place. It's hard to ignore a marketplace growing so quickly and experiencing "a manifestation of technology explosion," Japak says. For the organization to stay around another 25 years, he adds, it was a matter of asking, "What can we do to be transformational?"


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