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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.

CCHIT to Leave the ONC Certification Business

Posted on January 28, 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.

Update: Multiple people sent me the email that was sent to CCHIT certified EHR vendors that details this decision. In the email, along with what’s detailed below, CCHIT suggests a transition to ICSA Labs for EHR certification and talks about a new allegiance with HIMSS to provide new programs and policy guidance including a series of summits and events to support that work. I’m still waiting for an official response from CCHIT and will update the post if they respond.

Update 2: Here is CCHIT and HIMSS press release about the change and also ICSA Labs comments on the change. Drummond Group also issued this response.

I recently got word from a source close to the EHR certification world (yes, that could be just about any EHR vendor or EHR consultant) that CCHIT is about to announce they are leaving the ONC Certification business. I was told that CCHIT will test those that are already in the pipeline, but will not continue as an ONC EHR certifying body. I’d still classify this as a solid rumor for now (I emailed them for comment, but still haven’t gotten a response. I’ll update the post if I do.), but it comes from a reliable source. Plus, CCHIT did just cancel their weekly webinar series. No point in doing the webinar series if you’re not going to be certifying EHR anymore.

Whether the rumor is true or not, it’s worth considering the EHR Certification bodies and what would happen if any of them decide to not go forward with EHR certification. It will likely have a major impact on the meaningful use program.

I don’t think we should be surprised by this decision if indeed it is the case. CCHIT was started years before ARRA and meaningful use. They were created with a cost structure that was higher because they were charging a lot more for their EHR certification when they started. Once ARRA hit, CCHIT was marginalized and as EHR certification was commoditized and codified, CCHIT became irrelevant. Plus, with three new competitors certifying EHR, the prices for EHR certification dropped dramatically.

Furthermore, I think that all of the EHR certifying bodies are finding that 2014 EHR Certification is much more complex and time consuming than the 2011 certification. Yet the price to certify is basically the same. To me, the economics of the EHR certification business were never good.

Think about the business. Let’s say you get paid about $30,000 per EHR certification. There are only 600 customers (at the time we thought it was closer to 300) for your entire business and many of those don’t even pay the full $30k. Enter in 3 competitors and you’re now sharing a market of less than $18 million or $4.5 million per certifying body. Not to mention the stimulus is for only 5 years with many of the EHR vendors likely to consolidate, stop certifying, or go out of business. Plus, EHR certification is not a high margin business and requires expensive government certification. The economics just aren’t that exciting as an entire business.

This rumor is also interesting when paired with the comments I’ve heard that the EHR certification bodies have a backlog of EHR vendors that are trying to get 2014 certified. They’re having to schedule their testing day months out. If CCHIT gets out of the EHR certification business, then that will only increase the delay in 2014 EHR certifications. I wonder if this will lead to another call for a delay in meaningful use stage 2. Can it be delayed now that some have already started MU stage 2?

I’ve never been a fan of EHR certification. I think it represented a lot of cost and very little value to the EHR industry, doctors and patients. I’ll never forget when I asked Marc Probst, Intermountain CIO and member of the ONC committee that worked on EHR certification, why we needed EHR Certification if people had to show meaningful use of the requirements. If you can show meaningful use of a requirement, then the software can certainly do that requirement, no? He answered, “I lost that battle.”

Whether this rumor is true or not, the next couple months are going to be really interesting months for EHR vendors. How many will get across the 2014 EHR Certification line in time? How many will fail in the process? Will the ONC-CHPL be able to keep up? If CCHIT does leave ONC EHR certification behind, what will they do next? Can CCHIT do something to make themselves relevant again?

EMR Vendors Struggle With Meaningful Use Stage 2

Posted on October 29, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

CCHIT head Alisa Ray, clearly, is trying to put it delicately. EMR vendors are “struggling a little bit” when it comes to meeting 2014 criteria. “It  has been a slow start,” Ray told Healthcare IT News.

Usually, hearing this would lead to an inside baseball discussion of vendor operations, which wouldn’t be very exciting. But the thing is, meeting 2014 certification criteria is necessary to allow providers to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2. So vendor struggles in complying with CCHIT’s criteria should concern providers a great deal.

There are three areas of Stage 2 that are proving to be an issue for vendors: clinical quality measures, interoperability and automated measure calculation for reporting metrics, Ray said.

This has led to a real lag in certifications. About 40 companies had listed products with the CCHIT in 2011, but a scant 21 percent of those have stepped up and gotten certified in the 2014 criteria.

According to Ray’s chat with Healthcare IT News, “almost everyone has struggled and been surprised by the complexities” of meeting 2014 standards.  Despite having gone through the process yearly since 2006 with CCHIT, several have had to go through repeated certification trials to meet criteria.

ICSA Labs’ Amit Trivedi, meanwhile, noted that while there were close to 3,000 listings, with many having multiple listings — Cerner alone had 800 — so far there less than 300 on ONC’s Certified Health IT Products list.

There are signs that EMR vendors will catch up, the HIT story suggests. For example, vendors have been working particularly hard to offer Continuity of Care Documents or Direct messaging, a capability providers must demonstrate for Meaningful  Use Stage 2, said Matt Kohler, vice president of Network Infrastructure Services at Surescripts.

But vendors clearly have some serious development challenges ahead if they want to keep up with the pace set by Meaningful Use Stage 2.  If I were a provider reading this, I’d call my vendor right away and see where they were at in the certification process.

Final EHR Certification Bodies – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on July 23, 2012 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.

This seems mostly like a formality, but NIST has published the list of Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs), that are qualified to test EHR technology under the Permanent EHR Certification Program. You might remember that the permanent EHR certification program was delayed.

Here are the list of companies that are part of the final EHR certification bodies:

  • Drummond Group
  • Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT)
  • ICSA Laboratories, Inc.
  • InfoGard Laboratories, Inc.
  • SLI Global Solutions

All of them are familiar names and ones that have been doing work with EHR certification the whole time. I think this is generally good for consistency of EHR certification. Can you imagine if you’d certified your EHR using one of the bodies and then that body didn’t get approved for the permanent EHR certification. Sure, the criteria are still the same, but there’s some differences in the processes each EHR certification body uses.

As most of you know, I’ve been a long opponent to EHR certification. I think it’s pointless and provides no value to physicians. However, someone in Washington put it in the HITECH legislation, so we’re stuck with the idea of a certified EHR. The good thing is that ONC and CMS have basically rendered it meaningless since every EHR vendor has basically become a certified EHR or will be soon. Of course, that also illustrates how pointless the EHR certification really is.

All in all, the EHR certification bodies are going to be around for a number of years more. I’m not sure if they’ll survive post HITECH. I just wish they were providing something “meaningful” (pun intended.

New mHealth App Certification – The Next CCHIT Like Mistake

Posted on January 17, 2012 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 first heard about the new Secure, Branded App Store for Hospitals and Healthcare called Happtique in early December on Techcrunch. At its core, I think it’s an interesting idea to try and filter through what the article claims are “23,000 mobile health apps available for iOS and Android.” Helping physicians and hospital administrators filter through these apps could be valuable. Plus, most hospital administrators would love a way to have a phone that was limited on which apps it could download.

Well, it seems that the company has shifted gears a little bit. As Brian Dolan from Mobi Health News reported, Happtique is taking the first steps to setting up a certification for mobile health apps.

Happtique, a healthcare-focused appstore, announced plans to create a certification program that will help the medical community determine which of the tens of thousands of health-related mobile apps are clinically appropriate and technically sound. The company has tapped a multi-disciplinary team to develop the “bona fide mHealth app certification program” within the next six months. The program is open to all developers and will be funded by developer application fees.

It will certify apps intended to be used by both medical professionals and patients.

While I think that providing some way for people to filter through the large number of mobile apps, I think certification is a terrible way to go about it. Many people know I’ve written many an article about CCHIT pre-EHR incentive money and how screwed up the CCHIT EHR certification was for the industry. I think it’s just as bad news for Happtique to create a certification for the mobile health industry.

Turns out that Happtique seems to have agreed with this idea back in October 2010 where they said in a MobiHealthNews interview, “We are not in the business of opining whether an app is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ though. That’s not our role. Apple doesn’t do that and others don’t either. If the FDA indicates that an app is a medical device and needs to be regulated, well, that’s a different situation and we can take it out of the store.” Seems they’ve seen a different business opportunity.

They have a couple recognizable names on their board to create their certification including Howard Luks and Dave deBrokart (better known as e-Patient Dave), but I believe they’re going to find that it’s an impossible task. First, because they won’t have the breadth of knowledge needed to create certification requirements for every type of mHealth app. Second, what value will the certification really provide? Third, how do you make the certification broad enough to apply to all 20,000+ apps while still providing meaning to those using a very specific mHealth app? Plus, I’m sure there are many other issues I haven’t thought of yet.

The problem with these certification ideas is that they start with great intentions, but always end up bad.

Healthcare IT on Stack Exchange

Posted on November 6, 2011 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’m always on the lookout for new online communities around Healthcare IT. I test drive them for a little while and then decide how I’m going to incorporate them into my daily routine. I evaluate what benefits I get from participating. Sometimes the benefits of participating are just helping someone out. There’s something really satisfying about doing something for someone else.

My latest test drive has been the Healthcare IT Question and Answer site on Stack Exchange. I’ve used Stack Exchange a bunch before when I needed some programming help. However, I’m guessing that most people in healthcare IT (unless you’re a programmer) probably aren’t that familiar with Stack Exchange. Well, they created such an interesting community around question and answers that they got a whole bunch of VC funding and they’ve been growing their network into all sorts of new niches. Thus, the launch of the Healthcare IT Stack Exchange community.

You can go and check out my techguy profile on the HIT Stack Exchange site if you want to see what I’ve done. I’ve already got a reputation of 46 (whatever that means). I’ve already answered 9 questions on the site and a few people have been nice enough to vote up my answers.

For example, if you are a MUMPS lover, you can see my answers on this MUMPS replacement question and this NoSQL in Healthcare IT one. I couldn’t resist answering a question about CCHIT. I also took a swing at the PHR question, but I’m sure I could have dug a little more on that one to mention some other PHR software. Instead, I opted for the two most popular ones. I even hopped in the chat room, but it wasn’t that exciting since I was the only one there. You can check out the chat room, but you won’t be able to chat until you have enough reputation. Keeps out spammers, but makes for a boring chat room until you get some critical mass.

Of course, the real challenge with any site like this is the standard chicken and egg problem. You need a large number of people to ask and answer questions. However, in order to get a large number of people asking and answering questions, you need a lot of good questions and answers. I guess we’ll see how it evolves over time. The sidebar of the site says they’ve had 113 questions, 241 answers, 319 users and 147 visitors/day. A pretty small community, but a pretty good response rate considering the number of users. I just wish there was more discussion of EMR & EHR on the site since that’s what interests me most.

Let me know what you think and if you see any good questions or answers on the site that you think I should see. I’ll be keeping an eye on it to see how the community develops. I’d hate to have my 46 reputation points go to waste.

ICSA Labs Questions Strength of ONC Certification Rules

Posted on August 11, 2011 I Written By

You’ve undoubtedly heard the argument before: EHR certification is about assuring that systems meet minimum requirements for functionality and interoperability, but the certification process falls way short in terms of usability, privacy and security. But have you heard the argument from one of the ONC-authorized certification bodies?

This is an excerpt from an e-mail I received today:

Meaningful Use criteria have become a massive EHR certification driver for healthcare organizations. Hospitals and other providers rely on the criteria to ensure that their health IT systems meet minimum government-specified functionality and interoperability requirements to support Stage 1 of Meaningful Use.  Achieving Meaningful Use also ensures a health care organization qualifies for reimbursement under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a way to incent adoption of e-health processes among health organizations. The ultimate goal is to improve our nation’s healthcare system by leveraging technology to allow greater access to important health information and empower patients to securely access their own health information.

However, as one of only five organizations authorized to test both complete and modular EHRs by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT, ICSA Labs questions whether EHR certifications are enough as the criteria represents only minimum requirements. Amit Trivedi, healthcare program manager at ICSA Labs, believes providers should take further steps to heighten the security and privacy of their health IT systems. He also suggests vendors should look beyond the current regulations to address and improve usability, data portability, and information exchange in their products.

That’s right, ICSA Labs, one of five organizations currently authorized to test and certify complete EHRs on behalf of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, seems to think that the standards it tests EHRs against are inadequate, which is something that critics of certification—particularly critics of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology—have been saying for years. Critics of many of the larger vendors have been saying that, too. But it’s shockingly refreshing to hear this from an actual certification body.

In fact, the publicist for ICSA, a unit of Verizon Business, has offered interviews with executives of two lesser-known vendors,  Health System Technology and Design Clinicals, to talk about how they are going beyond the minimum certification requirements. Deadlines beckon, so I didn’t really have time to wait for the publicist to try to find me an schedule opening for one of the executives, but here’s a statement from a March 30 ICSA press release that is somewhat telling:

“This year we are expanding our certification programs into health IT, a much-needed area of focus to help modernize today’s health care system,” said George Japak, managing director for ICSA Labs. “With our new focus on safeguarding patient information within electronic health records, we are committed to helping accelerate the adoption of health IT.”

We don’t hear too much about security in the context of certification from too many other camps, so it’s nice to hear that at least one certification organization is critical of the rules it is under contract to follow. Perhaps we’ll see tougher usability, privacy and security standards in the permanent certification program ONC needs to have in place by the beginning of 2012 to support the forthcoming Stage 2 “meaningful use” requirements from CMS.

Wishful thinking?

CCHIT Has Become Irrelevant

Posted on June 22, 2011 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.

For those of you that are relatively new to EMR and HIPAA, you might not appreciate this post as much as long time readers of EMR and HIPAA. A few years back, I admit that I was pretty harsh on CCHIT and their EHR certification. I remember one guy stopping me at a conference and after realizing who I was asked, “so what’s your issue with CCHIT?” I was happy to answer that I thought they misled the industry (doctors in particular) by saying that the CCHIT certification provided an assurance that the EHR was a good EHR. They never came outright and said this, but that’s what EMR sales people would communicate during the sales process.

In fact, EHR certification was incorrectly seen by many doctors and practice managers as the stamp of approval on an EHR being of higher quality, more effective, easier to use, and was more likely to lead to a successful EHR implementation. EHR certification today still has some of these issues. However, the fact is that the EHR certification doesn’t certify any of the great list above. If EHR certification of any kind (CCHIT or otherwise) could somehow assure: a higher implementation success rate, a better level of patient care, a higher quality user experience, a financial benefit, or any other number of quality benefits, then I’d support it wholeheartedly. The problem is that it doesn’t, and so they can’t make that assurance.

So, yes, I do take issue with an EHR certification which misleads doctors. Even if it’s the EHR salespeople that do the misleading.

I still remember the kickback I got on this post I did where I said CCHIT Was Marginalized and the post a bit later where I said that the CCHIT process was irrelevant. Today, I came across an article on CMIO with some interesting quotes from CCHIT Chair, Karen Bell. Here’s a quote from that article.

In addition, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) new program has provided two new reasons for certification: proof that an EHR can do the things that the government wants it to do, and to enable eligible providers and hospitals to get EHR incentive money.

“The idea is not to assure the product will do all things that are desired for patient care, instead, the idea is to stimulate innovation,” said Bell. As a result, the program is considered a major success because more than 700 certified health IT products are now on the ONC website. “The idea was to get a lot of new products started. This is a very different reason for certification than what we began doing several years ago,” she said.

However, just because CCHIT or another ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB) doesn’t test and certify for a particular ability, that doesn’t mean the EHRs don’t have it. “It’s just up to [the provider] to make sure the vendors have it,” said Bell.

I first want to applaud Karen Bell and CCHIT for finally describing the true description of what EHR provides a clinic assurance that:
1. The EHR does what the government wants
2. You are eligible for the EHR incentive money
Then, she even goes on to say that it’s up to the providers to make sure the vendors have the right capabilities for their clinic.

I imagine Karen and CCHIT would still probably say that the CCHIT “complete” EHR certification provides assurance that…< fill in the blank >, which the ONC-ATCB EHR certification doesn’t provide. The happy part for me is that even if CCHIT says this, no one is really listening to that message anymore.

Yes, CCHIT has essentially become irrelevant.

I can’t remember anyone in the past year asking me about CCHIT certification. From my experience, many people care about ONC-ATCB EHR certification, but they really couldn’t care less if it comes from CCHIT, Drummond Group, ICSA Labs, SLI Global, or InfoGuard (That’s all of them right?). Have any of you had other experiences?

I also do enjoy the irony of this post coming right after my post about differentiation of EMR companies (Jabba vs Han Solo). CCHIT is the reason that I know so much about the challenge of EHR differentiation. CCHIT’s efforts provided some very valuable (and lengthy) discussions over the past 5 years about ways to help doctors differentiate between the 300+ EHR vendors. As you can see from my comments above, I was just never satisfied with CCHIT being the differentiating factor. As you can see from my post yesterday, I’m still searching for a satisfactory alternative for differentiating EHRs. Until then, we’ll keep providing an independent voice a midst all the noise.

UPDATE: Big Winners from Obama EHR Stimulus (HITECH)

Posted on December 10, 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 figured it was about time for me to do a post updating one of my top posts from 2009. This was a post I posted on February 19, 2009. It was REALLY early on in our understanding of the HITECH act and EMR stimulus incentive program. In the post, I predicted the Big Winners of the Obama EHR stimulus program. Let’s take a look at this list, see if anything’s changed and look at new additions to the list.

First, I loved the premise of my original post that with the government spending $36 billion (in the previous post the estimate was $20 billion) there have to be some people who dramatically benefit from the spending.

Here’s a look at my original list of Big Winners and my thoughts today:

  • EHR Vendors – In the short term I think that EHR vendors have taken a real hit. While we waited for the government to define meaningful use and certified EHR there was a dramatic slow down in EHR adoption. Now that we’re coming out of that funk I can see a lot of excitement and energy out of the EHR vendors. I predict this HIMSS is going to be absolutely electric. It’s easy to note that interest in EHR software has increased thanks to the stimulus money. This interest is going to spill over to every EHR vendor out there. Some will do better than others, but all will start seeing some sales now. Long term, those that provide the best service to these initial adopters (or cash out first) will be the long term big winners.
  • Health Care IT Consultants (ohhh…maybe I should become one) – First, I’m not likely to become a consultant any more than I am now. This blogging gig is far too good. Although, I’ll keep that in my back pocket. Me aside, the good healthcare IT consultants I know have a lot of work. Some have changed their names to meaningful use consultants or EHR certification consultants, but overall they’re doing well. A bunch are also working at RECs which doesn’t seem like a bad gig at all (as long as they meet their targets).
  • Existing EHR Users – I still see them winning. The doctors I know with an EHR are loving the idea of the EHR stimulus. First, it doesn’t matter too much to them if they get it or not. Second, they see it as something that likely won’t take that much effort beyond what they’re doing now. We’ll see if they change their minds once they get into the nitty gritty details of meaningful use. They might find changes for meaningful use harder than they think.
  • CCHIT (if they get chosen) – Well, CCHIT wasn’t chosen. Although, CCHIT made a really smart move to do the Preliminary ARRA certification as a way to basically lock in most of the top EMR vendors to their EHR certification. I guess I don’t see CCHIT as the big winner, but still a winner. EHR certification is still a requirement and will be for a while to come, so they still are in business. They just finally have some competition.
  • Hospital Systems – There’s just far too much money available for them to ignore the EMR stimulus. Not to mention the penalties are meaningful at the scale they have. I guess I can see this going both ways. Those hospital systems with great leaders and effective organizations are going to do very well. Those with less effective leaders and poorly run organizations are going to have issues.
  • Health and Human Services (HHS) – Maybe I should have said ONC or the healthcare IT portion of HHS. It’s an exciting time for healthcare and I think Blumenthal has worked hard to do things right. It is government work, but I applaud what seems to be some real sincere effort.
  • Obama’s HIT Donors – I’ll leave this one alone.

Now for a quick look at the other winners that I might not have considered almost 2 years ago:

  • IT Companies – I’m not sure why I didn’t consider this, but I’m amazed at how many IT companies out there are helping with EMR implementations and their businesses are benefiting from the EMR stimulus.
  • HIE – It’s a bit early to tell exactly how this is all going to play out, but the EMR stimulus and meaningful use requirements have extended the life of a bunch of HIE companies. Not to mention many have been acquired because of all the activity. It’s a good time to be an HIE company.
  • Trade Organizations – I think many organizations have seen all this buzz around EMR as a great opportunity for them to expand their services. It’s amazing how many different trade organizations have gotten their hands into the EMR world.
  • EMR Bloggers – Let’s just say, the EMR stimulus money has worked for my family. I’m thankful for that!

I’m sure there are probably others I’m forgetting. I tried to convince myself that doctors and patients should make this list, but couldn’t find a way to do it. Certainly some doctors and patients are going to receive the benefits, but I fear that many practices are going to select the “Jabba the Hutt EMR software” that is large, powerful and difficult to use and regret it. I hope I’m proven wrong.

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?