New EHR Certification Pathways from CCHIT

Posted on June 17, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I participated in both of the CCHIT “town calls” that happened this morning and yesterday. I did miss the beginning of today’s call, but looking through the slides it looks like the presentation was more or less the same for both town calls. You can see the slides from both CCHIT presentations here. Between this and the HIT Policy Committee meeting yesterday there’s almost too much to digest. So, in my regular fashion I’m going to break down my analysis into lots of bite sized chunks.

The biggest change that was proposed/announced during the CCHIT meeting was three EHR certification pathways:
EHR-C: Certified EHR Comprehensive
EHR-M: Certified EHR Module
EHR-S: Certified EHR Site

Basically, the EHR-C is the same certification that CCHIT has been doing since the beginning. Certainly the requirements for the EHR-C certification could be changed, added to, modified in order to meet the ARRA requirements, but for all intents and purposes this is what CCHIT has been doing for years.

The EHR-M certification is where CCHIT will certify certain modules from a software vendor. If my understanding is correct, CCHIT plans to take the various criteria that comes out of ONC and HHS and then use those criteria to decide which modules will be certified. An EHR vendor, or even other HIT product vendors, could choose to just get e-Prescribing EHR-M certified. I guess the thought here is that a hospital system, for example, could use one software vendor for e-Prescribing, another for EHR, and another for HIE and as long as they are all EHR-M certified, then the hospital could qualify for ARRA incentives.

The EHR-S certification is essentially where CCHIT will certify a site (better defined as an organization) to show that they meet the various ARRA requirements. It was made abundantly clear that the EHR-S certification only certifies that the site meets the ARRA requirements and not necessarily that the software that site is using meets the requirements. I’m sure this will be a topic worth discussing. Basically, the EHR-S certification tries to certify that a site is using an EHR to the ARRA requirements.

How’s that for a summary of the new EHR certification pathways? Did I misunderstand anything or leave anything out? Let me know in the comments and I’ll update anything that’s not clear.

Now, look forward to more commentary on the benefits and challenges of these paths, the timeline that CCHIT has proposed, CCHIT EHR ratings, CCHIT Certification codes, and of course plenty more discussion on the latest meaningful use draft document. I’ll try to space out the posts as much as possible so as not to overwhelm you.