EHNAC to Develop HIE Accreditation Program

Standards development organization will focus on privacy, technical performance and efficiency of business practices

FARMINGTON, Conn. – August 18, 2008 – The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), a non-profit standards development organization and accrediting body, announced today that it has begun development of a new accreditation program for health information exchange (HIE). Designed for regional health information organizations (RHIOs), community health data/network partnerships and other groups that promote data sharing across multiple, independent stakeholders, the HIE program will assess the privacy policies, security measures, technical performance, business practices and organizational resources of participating entities.

As with all of its accreditation programs, EHNAC will work with a broad range of stakeholders to develop rigorous and appropriate evaluation criteria. EHNAC’s mission requires an open, transparent process, and the commission encourages all interested parties to participate. EHNAC expects to convene a workgroup focused on criteria development later this year.

“It is absolutely critical that HIEs have an accreditation program at the national level,” says Jan Root, Ph.D., executive director of the Utah Health Information Network, a state-wide value-added network whose board will decide in September whether to expand into clinical information exchange. “It’s essential that HIE accreditation establish performance standards while allowing for local variation in the business functions the HIE fills. EHNAC understands that you can assess security, privacy, customer service and network performance without dictating how to do business.”

An EHNAC advisory group recently completed an HIE market scan white paper. These findings, presented at an industry symposium on June 20, 2008, formed the basis for discussion among representatives from the public sector and private industry. The white paper is available at the EHNAC Web site, http://www.ehnac.org.

“Leaders from both the federal and state levels have been calling for authoritative standards that would establish accountability, ensure efficiency and promote involvement with RHIOs and other types of networks,” says Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC. “This HIE accreditation program will fill that much-needed role and add a measure of confidence for providers, payers and other potential HIE participants.”

As a part of the standards development process, EHNAC will coordinate with like-minded certification and accreditation organizations, including the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).
About EHNAC
The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) is a voluntary, self-governing standards development organization (SDO) established to develop standard criteria and accredit organizations that electronically exchange healthcare data. These entities include electronic health networks, payers, financial services firms and e-prescribing solution providers.

EHNAC was founded in 1993 and is a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. Guided by peer evaluation, the EHNAC accreditation process promotes quality service, innovation, cooperation and open competition in healthcare. To learn more, visit http://www.ehnac.org or contact info@ehnac.org.