Testing, Testing ... EHR ... 1, 2, 3

The inexorable march toward the future of health care--one that is digitized, codified and interconnected--has passed another milestone.

The inexorable march toward the future of health care--one that is digitized, codified and interconnected--has passed another milestone.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology last week published a set of approved procedures "for testing information technology systems that work with electronic health records," according to a NIST new release.

The 45 approved test procedures will measure the efficacy of electronic health records and compatibility with systems developed by other vendors. Testing organizations authorized by the Department of Health and Human Services and its health IT division, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, will use the tools to evaluate EHR systems before they go to market.

The tests, released in draft form earlier this year, will gauge critical functions of electronic records, such as encryption, the plotting and display of growth charts, calculation of body mass index, formatting in XML and security controls.

NIST is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The agency's mission, according to its web site, is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness ... in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.