Complete EHR Certification and Module EHR Certification

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In a recent discussion I had, someone brought up a really interesting question about module certification to me. Obviously, proving that you use a certified EHR is quite easy if you just use one EHR software that’s a complete certified EHR based on the ARRA guidelines. Then, you can fitfully say that you use a certified EHR.

Even this isn’t that confusing if you use one complete EHR software for everything, but say ePrescribing. Of course, the ePrescribing vendor would need to be certified for those modules, but you can easily show that both are certified EHR and you use all the modules.

The questions start coming in when you start to talk about module EHR certification when you just purchase parts of a software. Let’s say you purchase only part of a certified EHR software (ie. no ePrescribing and no Patient Portal). You don’t purchase those 2 modules since you already use other software to match those needs and their certified for those modules.

The problem with this scenario is how do we know that the main EHR software that you purchased has all of the certified EHR functions if you never purchased two major components? How do we know that the ePrescribing component actually also did some other part of the EHR certification that wasn’t part of the ePrescribing module certification?

Of course, you could easily argue that it doesn’t really matter because if you’re able to show meaningful use with what you bought, then does it matter if your combined EHR software with the other modules wouldn’t technically have passed an EHR certification? It absolutely doesn’t matter. In fact, that’s exactly why EHR certification is a shameful waste of money and time. If I can meet the meaningful use guidelines using a typewriter, then who cares if the typewriter is certified or not?

Moral of the Story (since this isn’t one of my clearest posts): This whole idea of modular certification is going to be messy.