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NIST researchers are collaborating with medical device vendors and domain experts to facilitate the development and adoption of standards for medical device communications throughout the healthcare enterprise as well as integrating it into the electronic health record. NIST researchers are actively developing medical device communication test methodologies, tools, and tests to provide a key tool set needed to enable consistent and correct communication between medical devices, device-gateways, and across the healthcare enterprise. This work serves to provide standards-based and rigorous validation of medical device communication through conformance leading to interoperability. Rigorous testing is essential to achieve multi-vendor and enterprise-wide interoperability and must be predicated on sufficiently specified medical device and enterprise-communication standards. To this end, NIST researchers are participating in key medical device standards working groups, special interest groups, and multi-vendor medical device integration consortiums.
NIST's medical device communication test team is developing and advancing software test tools to support device communication in point-of-care and personal health settings. These tools are derived and implemented to meet medical device-level communication requirements defined in the ISO/IEEE 11073-TM Medical Device Communication (x73) family of standards and enterprise/electronic health record level defined in the Health Level 7 (HL7) messaging standard. NIST researchers, in conjunction with medical device experts, work on meaningful medical device use cases to enable consistent and complete information exchange. NIST has developed and is advancing HL7 message validation in support of constraints applied by the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise – Patient Care Device (IHE-PCD). This work targets syntactical and semantic message verification of device-derived data carried in electronic messages destined as electronic health records. NIST research is evolving a health information technology test infrastructure to develop tooling - enabling a higher level of rigor and thus providing the healthcare industry and certification entities an increased probability of interoperable systems.