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RIP CCHIT

Posted on October 29, 2014 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.

CCHIT announced that it was ending 10 years of service.

Today, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) announced that it is winding down all operations beginning immediately. All customers and business colleagues have been notified, CCHIT staff is assisting in transitions, and all work will be ended by November 14, 2014.

Alisa Ray made these comments in the announcement:

“We are concluding our operations with pride in what has been accomplished”, said Alisa Ray, CCHIT executive director. “For the past decade CCHIT has been the leader in certification services, supported by our loyal volunteers, the contribution of our boards of trustees and commissioners, and our dedicated staff. We have worked effectively in the private and public sectors to advance our mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology. We have served hundreds of health IT developers and provided valuable education to our healthcare provider stakeholders.”

“Though CCHIT attained self-sustainability as a private independent certification body and continued to thrive as an authorized ONC testing and certification body, the slowing of the pace of ONC 2014 Edition certification and the unreliable timing of future federal health IT program requirements made program and business planning for new services uncertain. CCHIT’s trustees decided that, in the current environment, operations should be carefully brought to a close”, said Ray.

The announcement also said that CCHIT would be donating its remaining assets to the HIMSS Foundation. Makes sense since HIMSS kind of gave them a partial home the past few months as they tried to save the jobs of the many who worked at CCHIT. Credit should go to Alisa Ray for all she did to try and give those who worked at CCHIT a soft landing.

Long, long time readers of this blog will remember my long blog posts talking about CCHIT and the lack of value that they provided the EHR industry. I believed then and even now that EHR certification was more of a tax on the industry than it was something that provided value to the market. They told me it provided some assurance to the purchaser of the EHR, but I never saw such assurances.

Once EHR certification was made part of meaningful use and the HITECH act, it basically made CCHIT irrelevant. Although, I still think that EHR certification in its current state doesn’t provide value to organizations and I’d love to see it go away. Sadly, there’s some legislation which is pushing the opposite direction.

While I disagreed with CCHIT’s approach to EHR certification and the value they provided, I do think there were good people who worked there that had good intentions even if we disagreed on the approach. I hope they all land somewhere great.

New Hospital Specific ARRA EHR Certification Program – EACH

Posted on November 16, 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.

In a move that we’ve heard talked about for a long time now, CCHIT has finally announced its site specific EHR certification. This is the EHR certification that hospitals that have built their EHR software in house should consider.

The Certification Commission announced today a new electronic health record (EHR) certification program for hospitals that will be introduced at a Town Call webcast and teleconference Dec.1, 2010, and launched Dec. 15, 2010.  The EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals, or EACH™ program, an ONC-ATCB 2011/2012 certification for installed hospital EHR technology, is designed to meet the needs of hospitals that have uncertified legacy software, customized commercial  products, or have developed their own EHR systems to suit their individual needs.  The teleconference will take place at 1 p.m. Eastern. Call-in details are available at cchit.org/towncalls.

“Until now, CCHIT’s ONC-ATCB certification was available only for health IT vendor developed products. Our new certification program is an alternative for hospitals that have developed their systems with products that are not individually certified or are a mix of certified and uncertified products.   These hospital EHR systems are often very sophisticated and may have been developed over many years.  Yet, they must be certified for hospitals to qualify for financial incentives through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and avoid Medicare penalties,” said Alisa Ray, executive director, CCHIT.

Alternative certification is not needed if a hospital has adopted an EHR with complete certification, or a combination of certified EHR modules that meet all of the 2011/2012 certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to support the meaningful use objectives established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Unfortunately, there was no talk of price in the press release from CCHIT. Looks like we’ll have to check out the Town Hall to see how much the EHR site certification (now called EACH by CCHIT) is going to cost. I imagine it won’t be that much less expensive than the current full EHR certification. Seems like the requirement list should be the same no?

Providers Awareness of EHR Certification Bodies

Posted on October 28, 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.

One of my readers recently linked me to an article from back in July that talks about providers lack of understanding of EHR certification and the possibility of EHR certification bodies beyond CCHIT. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has made it clear that it wants multiple EHR certification bodies, but that message apparently has not made it out to many physician practices. According to a survey by Burlington, Vt.-based consulting firm CapSite, 69 percent of healthcare providers are unaware that there will be alternatives to the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology in terms of certifying ambulatory EHR systems.

Additionally, 52 percent of the 850 providers surveyed incorrectly believe that CCHIT certification is a prerequisite to receiving Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments for meaningful use of EHRs. In reality, ONC will designate authorized testing and certification bodies, which then will test and certify EHRs on behalf of vendors.

As most of you know I have a real disdain for misinformation. I’m all about exposing the truth and spreading the knowledge as far as possible. So, you can imagine my reaction to providers not understanding that there are multiple EHR certification bodies and that all of the EHR certification bodies can provide doctors access to the EMR stimulus money.

The only problem is that I’m guessing that most readers of this blog already know this information. I like to think that readers of this blog are smarter and more informed than those who don’t. I was going to do a poll to see who knew what. Only problem is that reading above you’d know the answers.

Either way, if readers of this blog work to inform the people around them that there are multiple EHR certifying bodies (Drummond Group and InfoGuard with others on the way) and that it doesn’t matter which EHR certifying body you use then I think we’d have some impact for good on the EHR world!

Another Possible ONC-ATCB EHR Certifying Organization

Posted on October 5, 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.

One of my more interesting meetings at AAFP was with a company called SLI Global Solutions. The meeting was so interesting, because SLI Global Solutions plans to apply to become an ONC-ATCB organization very soon. This coming after the announcement of the first ONC-ATCB certified EHR from Drummond Group and CCHIT along with the announcement of InfoGard as an ONC-ATCB and Weno Healthcare’s plans to become an ONC-ATCB.

We obviously had a long conversation about the EHR certification, but suffice it to say that SLI Global Solutions is going full steam ahead to become an ONC-ATCB. It sounds like they’ve been doing a number of other certifications previously. They’ve even done some consulting work in healthcare.

When I asked SLI Global Solutions what they thought would help them to differentiate themselves from the other ONC-ATCB, one response was that they were really good at providing feedback and helping organizations through the certification process. I personally think that many EHR vendors and other healthcare organizations that need to certify for the EMR stimulus money are nervous about the unknown issues related to certification. If SLI Global Solutions can provide them a feedback loop then it could go a long way to relieving the nerves. This is the main suggestion Jim Tate makes in his post about selecting an ATCB.

I asked SLI Global Solutions how much they planned to charge for the EHR certification. Here was their response, “We have not finalized the pricing yet because we are contemplating ancillary services pre and post certification but we will likely be in the $20,000 USD ballpark.”

With SLI Global Solutions, that would make 5 ONC-ATCB and I’m guessing there are other companies like this that will become certifying bodies as well. I’m all about competition and so the more ONC-ATCB the merrier.

It does make me wonder how many ONC-ATCB the market can support. Not to mention, there’s the interesting question of whether they’re a bit late to the party. I guess time will tell.

33 More ONC-ATCB Certified EHR

Posted on October 1, 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.

Today, CCHIT announced their first ONC-ATCB certified EHR a day later than Drummond Group’s ONC-ATCB announcement. Although, CCHIT is announcing 33 EHR vendors (21 complete ONC-ATCB certified EHR and 12 module certified). No real surprises on this list. They were the previously CCHIT certified EHR companies. That gives us 36 total ONC-ATCB EHR right now (or 24 if we’re talking complete EHR certification).

Here’s the list of Complete ONC-ATCB certified EHR:
ABEL Medical Software Inc.
ABELMed EHR – EMR / PM

Allscripts
Allscripts Professional EHR

Aprima Medical Software, Inc
Aprima

athenahealth, Inc
athenaClinicals

CureMD Corporation
CureMD EHR

The DocPatientNetwork.com
Doctations

eClinicalWorks LLC
eClinicalWorks

Epic Systems Corporation
EpicCare Inpatient – Core EMR

Epic Systems Corporation
EpicCare Ambulatory – Core EMR

GE Healthcare
Centricity Advance

gloStream, Inc.
gloEMR

Intuitive Medical Software
UroChartEHR

MCS – Medical Communication Systems, Inc.
iPatientCare

Medical Informatics Engineering
WebChart EHR

Meditab Software, Inc.
IMS

NeoDeck Software
NeoMed EHR

NextGen Healthcare
NextGen Ambulatory EHR

Nortec Software Inc
Nortec EHR

Prognosis Health Information Systems
ChartAccess

Pulse Systems
2011 Pulse Complete EHR

SuccessEHS
SuccessEHS

Here’s the list of module ONC-ATCB EHR Certifications:
NOTE: CCHIT does make a comment that some of these may become complete EHR certifications later.
Allscripts
Allscripts ED

Allscripts
Allscripts PeakPractice

Health Care Systems, Inc.
HCS eMR

NexTech Systems Inc.
NexTech Practice 2011

nextEMR, LLC
nextEMR, LLC

PeriGen
PeriBirth

Sammy Systems
SammyEHR

T-System Technologies, Ltd.
T SystemEV

Universal EMR Solutions
Physician’s Solution

Vision Infonet Inc.,
MDCare EMR

WellCentive
WellCentive Registry

Wellsoft Corporation
Wellsoft EDIS

First ONC-ATCB Certified EHR – Drummond Group Wins

Posted on September 30, 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.

Drummond Group just posted the news of the first 3 EHR vendors which have been officially certified EHR for the ARRA EHR stimulus money. Looks like Drummond Group won the race to be the first to certify an EHR.

The interesting thing for me is the list of 3 EHR vendors that became the first certified EHR:
PARADIGM (QRS Inc.)
ifa EMR (ifa united i-tech Inc.)
ChartLogic EMR (ChartLogic, Inc.)

I consider myself pretty well informed about EMR vendors, but I only realy knew 1 of the 3 and I’d maybe heard of one other, but just by name. As all the ONC-ATCB certified vendors start completing their EHR certification, I think we’re going to learn about a WHOLE lot of EMR vendors that very few people knew about previously.

I also find it interesting that all 3 EHR vendors have already updated their website in some way to represent the new ONC-ATCB EHR certification.

Note: We need a new way to identify the certified EHR. ONC-ATCB just doesn’t have the right ring to it. I might work on this problem.

More CCHIT Details

Posted on September 28, 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.

The good people over at >HITECH Answers must have more time on their hands than I do. They got on the CCHIT conference call where they talked about their newest ONC ATCB certified EHR program. Here’s a portion of the HITECH Answers summary which includes some CCHIT pricing details:

The ONC-ATCB Certified 2011/2012 Toolkit will help prepare health IT companies and EHR developers for testing. You can purchase the toolkit for $1000. Pricing will be in tier levels and range from $8K to $34,300K. They want to do the testing in a single day. There can be an accumulative approach where modules can be certified and added to the current certification without having to retest previously certified criteria.

It still feels wrong that they charge you $1000 for the toolkit you’ll need to use in order to pay them $34k more dollars to become certified. Uhh…yeah.

The fact that you can use a cumulative approach to certification is a difference between CCHIT and Drummond Group. Drummond Group has said that you would have to recertify everything if you wanted to do more modules.

HITECH Answers also mentioned that CCHIT has a program called EACH (EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals) that will certify EHR technology in place for legacy and custom programs. They’d been calling this the EHR site certification before.

They also did a quick poll on the CCHIT call with the following results:
“Using the interactive polling option of the meeting, CCHIT asked attending vendors what their plans on certification were. In a quick response from about 250 vendors, 24% said they were intending to certify immediately, 45% said in the next few months, and 8% where not sure.”

Don’t ask me what the other 23% of responses were. However, these results do point to my belief that most EHR vendors will certify.

Full CCHIT Certification Estimates

Posted on September 16, 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.

I’ve written previously about the cost of EHR certification with Drummond Group and CCHIT. However, this just addresses the hard cost of certification that’s paid to the certifying bodies. This cost doesn’t take into account a lot of other costs associated with becoming a certified EHR like the cost to develop and test the features that certification requires.

Keith Boone on his blog Healthcare Standards has done a great blog post that evaluates the other costs associated with certifying an EHR software beyond the fee you pay to the certifying body. If you’re an EMR vendor, this is an article that you definitely want to look at and consider. Plus, I’d love your feedback on things he missed or where he might have missed costs or estimated to high on costs.

Here’s Keith’s projections for EHR certification costs based on his estimates:
Average yearly developer salary: $80,000
Fully Burdened yearly cost: 200,000 – 240,000
Times the length of the project (~5.5 years)
Total certification labor cost: $1.1M – $1.32M

Of course, this number matches the estimates that came out with the HITECH act as well. ONC estimated between $500k-$1.5 million. So, this is pretty close.

I’ll leave the impact (good or bad) of this expense open for discussion. I think most people know where I stand on it.

EHR Certification Testing Dates Scheduled into November

Posted on September 14, 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.

I can’t remember when or where I saw it, but at some point I saw someone reference Jim Tate from EMR Advocate as the expert on EHR certification. I’d known Jim electronically for quite a while having followed his writings online and on Twitter. I even haphazardly bumped into Jim where we both looked at it each other and recognized our pictures from Twitter.

After Jim stopped by to comment on my previous EHR certification post, I emailed Jim to ask him if he wanted to do a guest blog post for EMR and HIPAA. He is busy with 3 stage 1 EHR certifications this week, but did send the following info which I found interesting and useful. I’m also looking forward to taking a look at his manual on meaningful use. I hear it’s highly targeted at doctors and clinical practices which fits in line with my style too.

The HHS/ONC Authorized Certification Program has really broken loose. We were in the eye of the storm, but the eye has passed and the windows are being blown out. Vendors are desperately trying to get a testing date in October and not Novemenber or later. The ability to get Stage 1 Certified and listed on the ONC website is now a giant business issue. A two month’s delay in being able to market and sell certified technology is a handicap. We will see the effect that decisions made over the past year by vendors will play out in the market. Those that applied for the CCHIT Preliminary IFR Stage 1 test are sitting pretty as their can choose test dates based on their application date. Those vendors that elected to wait may pay a price in delayed certifications. Of coursethere are presently 2 organizations authorized to test and certify and I expect maybe 2 more in coming weeks. That may help the crunch. The Drummond Group is charging $23,500 for all Stage 1 testing for EPs and has begun accepting applications for testing. Information about their program is available at: http://www.drummondgroup.com/pdfs/EHR_Testing_and_Certification_Guide_Rev_A.pdf (PDF). A number of my vendor clients have applied and have been given test dates in mid to late November. CCHIT will hold a Town Call next Monday at 1 PM ET: http://www.cchit.org/about/towncalls/CCHIT-Town-Call-Authorized-HHS-certification-program. The fees for their Stage 1 testing will be announced at that time and applications will begin to be accepted that date. Vendors who had already applied for CCHIT’s Preliminary Stage 1 Testing will begin testing against the CMS Final Rule next week. By the end of this month we will Certified Technology listed on the ONC website.

Due to the complexities of the CMS EHR Incentive Program for EPs I have written a manual, The Incentive Roadmap, to help guide medical practices through the process. It is being updated continually to reflect the changes in the incentive program. It is being sold at HITECHAnswers.

Existing EHR Vendors with CCHIT Certification

Posted on September 13, 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.

As I mentioned in my previous post about the race to be the first EHR certified (and the first ATCB to certify an EHR), there’s a lot more going on in the battle amongst the EHR certifying bodies.

The first interesting detail surrounds the previous CCHIT certified EHR vendors. This turns out to be a really great move by CCHIT. A quick look at CCHIT’s website has 49 EHR products (or modules of products) that have been certified for either the CCHIT 2011 certification or for the Preliminary ARRA certification. That’s 49 pieces of EMR software (a few less since some are different versions of the same product) have paid $22k+ in order to be certified by CCHIT.

I’ve talked to one of these EHR vendors and they said that CCHIT did a call with all current vendors and said that they will be honoring their previous commitment to provide the real ARRA certification at no additional cost to these providers. This turns out to be really smart if it means that many of the big EHR players like GE, Elipsys/Allscripts, NextGen, Epic, Athena, Pulse, Cerner, etc all decide to continue forward with CCHIT.

Many would ask why they would pay another $20k to someone like Drummond Group if they could get the EHR certification for free from CCHIT. Turns out their is a possibility if CCHIT isn’t able to deliver their certification in a timely manner and Drummond Group is able to do it much quicker.

Remember the list above are HUGE EHR vendors where $20k is basically a drop in the bucket. It’s kind of scary to consider that, but that’s the reality for most of the EHR vendors. Sure, it’s not what they’d like to spend if they don’t have to, but when did large corporations start worrying about wasteful spending? Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

The good thing for Drummond Group is that there are still 300+ EMR vendors that will need to be certified. In fact, many of the non CCHIT certified EHR companies are likely moving to Drummond Group for EHR certification since CCHIT is giving priority to their existing EHR vendors.

Yes, that’s right. Over the next month and half CCHIT will spend all its time doing a bunch of free EHR certifications while Drummond Group will be making just under $20k for each EHR certification that they do.

One final thought about the fun that is EHR certification. When I recently talked to an EHR vendor that is CCHIT certified and will likely be getting their now free EHR certification, I found it really interesting to learn who from their company was on the CCHIT call. In this case, the EHR vendor’s VP of Marketing was on the call with CCHIT.

Of course, this begs the question why the VP of Marketing would be on a call about EHR certification standards and compliance. Shouldn’t the clinical director be the one that wants to be on that call? I think it sends a compelling message that I’ve been preaching on EMR and HIPAA for a long time. EHR certification is not a benefit to the doctor. EHR certification is not a benefit to the patient. EHR certification is a means for EHR vendors to market their EHR software.