HHS Says Certified EHR Available in Fall 2010

Posted on June 21, 2010 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.

Well, it always seems to happen when I go out of town on vacation that HHS finally decides to go to work and make some announcements. The final rule for the Temporary EHR certification rule is out and will be published to the Federal Register on June 24th. It’s non-final format is available at the Federal Register’s Public Inspection Desk. Does anyone else kind of squirm when they read about this final rule for a temporary EHR certification. Final and temporary just don’t sound right together, but that’s what we have.

The Healthcare IT Guy attended an HHS ONC press conference and added a nice little summary of what was said:

*As of today if you’re interested in being a certification body you must request the HHS Certifying Body application in writing
*On July 1 ONC will start accepting applications
*By the “end of the summer” (HHS’s words) there will be one or more certifying bodies open for business (accepting products)
*By “this fall” (again, their words) there will be fully HHS certified products available

One important clarification was made by ONC — there is no grandfathering in CCHIT or previously certified products. Everybody is going to be re certified using the new NIST rules. This means that if you have even 2011 CCHIT certification now it won’t mean anything, you have to go through the process again. CCHIT is offering their “ARRA Interim Certification” but beware — the rules say that you have to follow the NIST plans, not what CCHIT developed. So, if you have the ARRA Interim Certification you may not have pay again but you still will be required to change your software to meet the HHS/NIST test plans and requirements.

Nothing that’s all that newsworthy, except it’s nice to finally have a little bit more solid timeline for when there will be some ARRA EHR certification bodies.

I think that Shahid’s analysis of the now meaningless 2011 CCHIT certification is spot on as well. Although, I’m sure we’ll still see quite a few EMR vendors using the marketing power of the CCHIT certification on unsuspecting clinics who don’t know the difference.

Yes, it does also mean that clinics will have to wait until Fall of 2010 (or later) before they’ll really know if an EHR will be a certified EHR or not. Of course, I’ll be very surprised if less than 98% of EMR vendors don’t become ARRA certified.