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The Value of Certification Services

Posted on July 6, 2015 by Mark Nenadovic

Before I took on a new role as the Group Director for Infoway’s Certification Services program, Infoway had partnered with the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) to conduct a joint review of digital health certification services in Canada.

It was an important and timely exercise to collaborate with ITAC to reflect on what was working well and to discover where the vendor, eHealth agency and clinician communities could be better served. After all, multiple product testing, licensing and certification programs had been established both provincially and nationally as a result of the significant investment in digital health solutions over the last decade.

Shortly after taking on my new role, I had a doctor’s appointment. He had recently deployed an electronic medical record (EMR) solution, so I was curious about his experience. Did he like the user interface? Could I access my test results through a portal that was being promoted on their practice website? Was it Infoway certified?

If I hadn’t been in the certification service business, I probably would never have given our conversation much more thought. But as it turned out, his EMR was not certified by Infoway; however, it was approved by some provincial agencies. Knowing Infoway’s criteria is based on national and international standards for security, privacy, interoperability and management controls, I had more questions – did this EMR solution keep my health information private and secure? Were there system vulnerabilities? Could it interoperate with the province’s electronic health record (EHR) system, so he could access my complete health record? What functional aspects were assessed by the provincial agencies? Were there redundancies between provinces and Infoway testing?

I share my story with you because it nicely sums up a lot of what we learned in the 2014 Infoway and ITAC joint review and what we intend to address over the next three years. The review generated a set of seven actionable items that are designed to ensure Canada’s health IT conformance and certification programs better meet the needs of our digital health community. One of the action items is to discover where certification redundancies exist and, ideally, working together, the certifying bodies will eliminate duplicate testing.

It is important that our digital health vendors can demonstrate that their solution protects the privacy of our personal health information, while enabling its secure exchange with authorized providers. Through the review they have communicated their support for a pan-Canadian certification service.

I believe that we can all agree that certification delivers benefits, value and peace-of-mind while enabling patient safety and interoperability.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue the work that is already underway to improve Canada’s certification program. I welcome your views and look forward to engaging many members of our digital health communities.

Visit Infoway’s website to learn more about Infoway’s Certification Services program and leave a comment below with your thoughts on the importance of certification.

Have a comment about this post? We’d love to hear from you.

mnenadovic 100Mark Nenadovic

Mark Nenadovic, MHSc, CPHIMS-CA is the Group Director, Emerging Technology Group and Certification Services for Canada Health Infoway where he is part of a team that researches and publishes white papers on disruptive digital health technologies. Mark also leads Infoway’s Certification Services program which serves to accelerate the introduction of private, secure, interoperable health information solutions that leverage Canada’s substantial investments in EHR systems. Previously, Mark lead four of Infoway’s pan-Canadian EHR programs with investments valued at more than $1 billion. Throughout his career, Mark has worked extensively with hospitals, regional health authorities and has consulted to provincial and national governments as well as non-government organizations.

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