Thursday, December 6, 2012

IHE certification: overstepping its boundaries?

IHE USA and ICSA labs have announced a new certification program which, according to a recent press release, will start at the Jan 28 connectathon.

Monitors at work at the connectathon
There is no question that the IHE organization had a major impact on interoperability because of its definition of many profiles in multiple domains, and the development of tools, test transactions, images, and educational programs and seminars. This activity, especially the connectathons, have been a major benefit to the industry as a whole and ultimately resulted in more effective and efficient care. Its work has had a major support from the user community and the industry. 

However, the recent press release indicates a major departure and extension from its current activities.

As a reference, the IHE governance states the following activities:
1. Development activities: the work that leads to publication of the IHE Technical
Frameworks; international in scope; organized along clinical and operational domains. 
Typically within each Domain, a Planning Committee annually selects the use cases and a Technical Committee profiles the use of standards to address the use case, documenting them in Technical Framework documents and their supplements.  A Domain Coordination Committee ensures that consistent processes and technical directions are followed. 
2. Deployment activities: regional/national testing and demonstrations of the profiles contained in the Technical Frameworks and their supplements, as well as promotional and educational efforts. Testing activities include the development of testing software and related tools. Deployment activities are organized by National and Regional Deployment Committees that are separate entities with a close collaborative relationship with IHE International.

In my interpretation, certification is not currently defined in the governance and I would expect that this would require a change in the governance, and discussed with all stakeholders prior to taken this major change in direction. I am not a direct stakeholder, so I don’t know whether that has happened, but if so, I can’t understand how they would have agreed to this, especially because ICSA labs is a commercial entity (a division of Verizon).

Am I over-reacting, interpreting this incorrect or confused? Reactions are welcome.