EMR Stimulus Q&A: Do You Have to Use a CCHIT Certified EHR Vendor?

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AK sent me the following EHR Certification question:

Is it necessary to get CCHIT certified vendor just because you want to qualify for incentives or regardless you MUST go for a certified solution?

Because I make the case that one should go with the one that provides the most amount of value.

You only need to use a certified EHR (doesn’t have to be CCHIT certified either, but HHS Certified) if you want to get the EMR stimulus money. The only caveat is that if you don’t show “meaningful use” of a “certified EHR,” then in a few years there are 1-5% Medicare penalties for not using one and showing meaningful use. However, many people strongly believe that those penalties will actually never be implemented. Of course, that part is just conjecture and may or may not happen.

So, there’s nothing forcing physicians to use a certified EMR solution. More and more people are doing as you describe, ” go with the one that provides the most amount of value.” They make the valid argument that if you get $44k in EMR stimulus money and lose $50k in productivity then you would have been better to go with an EMR that can’t get you stimulus money, but still maintains or even improves your productivity (among other EMR benefits).

At one of my EMR stimulus speaking engagements, a physician came up to me after the presentation and asked, “If I don’t accept Medicare or Medicaid, then do I care about meaningful use or certified EHR?” The easy answer was, nope. He can just decide on the right EMR without having to worry about government requirements.

Some have suggested that insurance companies might impose the certified EMR or meaningful use requirements, but I personally think that’s pretty unlikely.