InfoGard becomes third certification authority

The rapid approval of new testing facilities is like the opening of new cash register lines in a store, preventing a backlog on testing would keep vendors from getting EHRs approved for customers seeking that sweet, sweet stimulus cash.

When you're at the grocery store, anxious to check out, and find everyone else is ready too, what usually happens is they open more cash registers.

That's what the Office of National Coordinator is doing for makers of health IT gear who want it certified for meaningful use.

A third certification authority, InfoGard Laboratories of San Luis Obispo, Calif., was approved just this week, following the September 3 approval of CCHIT and the Drummond Group of Austin, Texas.

The ONC press release did not indicate that the agency is done with its approvals.

InfoGard has been a security testing center since 1995, and security is one of the key attributes hospitals and clinics are looking for in EHRs, which have to meet expanded HIPAA standards.

InfoGard may be best known for penetration testing, checking out the security of corporate networks and systems, including payment networks. That may indicate other firms specializing in security or payment security might want to consider applying to certify EHR systems.

The Drummond Group, by contrast, is known for interoperability testing. CCHIT was created through the HIMSS trade group, which represents the health IT industry.

The rapid approval of new testing facilities, like the opening of new cash register lines in a store, should alleviate the fears of some vendors that a backlog on testing would prevent them from getting their EHRs approved for customers seeking what I call that sweet, sweet stimulus cash.

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