EHR Certification Reference Sites – CCHIT

Posted on November 2, 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.

Every couple posts I have to write about CCHIT or EHR certification. It’s one of my favorite topics to write about, and I believe it’s one of my readers favorite topics as well (at least that’s what traffic tells me).

Today I want to take a look at what I believe is a new addition to the CCHIT 2011 EHR Certification. At least I hadn’t heard of it before. This is what CCHIT is calling Reference Site Verfications. From what I can gather they’re basically planning to verify that there are 2 live sites that have been using the certified EHR for at least 45 calendar days. For those new EMR, they can be certified with what CCHIT is calling “Pre-Market” status, but the EMR vendor must have 2 approved sites within 1 year of when they were initially certified. I also like that CCHIT is requiring that the 2 approved sites have no financial relationships with the EMR vendor. However, I’m not sure how they’re going to know if this is the case or not.

The questions I have is how they’re going to know and test that the 2 reference sites are using the EMR. According to CCHIT guidelines these EMR sites must be actively using key Meaningful Use components:
Ambulatory: ePrescribing, Drug decision support, Electronic receipt of labs, Problem list, Quality reporting
Inpatient: CPOE for medications, Drug decision support, Electronic receipt of labs, Problem list, Quality reporting

I admit that I love the concept of verifying that the software’s actually being used as it should be being used. My challenge is I haven’t figured out how CCHIT can do this effectively across so many different systems and locations. I know Sue from CCHIT has read some of my previous posts, so hopefully she can respond in the comments and give us more details.

CCHIT has also planned an annual monitoring of the certified EHR systems. Basically a look at one of the previous reference sites and a new site.

I find this reference site plan by CCHIT to be very interesting. I like that they’re trying to find places that actually use the EMR and they use the full set of features of the EMR as well. However, I’m not sure how well they’ll be able to measure this effectively and even if they could I wonder if 2 locations is enough to provide a valuable measure.

Of course, I should also clarify that this is just for the CCHIT 2011 certification and not the certification that CCHIT will be doing for those interested in the ARRA EMR stimulus money. At least that’s my understanding.