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Drummond Group and CCHIT Become First Official ONC EHR Certifying Bodies

Posted on August 31, 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.

We finally now have the first ONC approved EHR certification bodies (Officially ONC-ATCB or ATCB or ONC Authorized Testing and Certification Body). The first 2 ONC-ATCB are very familiar names that we’ve been talking about on EMR and HIPAA for a long time: Drummond Group and CCHIT.

In an HHS and ONC press release they also noted that “Applications for additional ONC-ATCBs are also under review.”

Drummond Group has already posted information on their website about their EHR certification and testing plans. The most useful item is this 10 page EHR Testing, Pricing and Certification guide (PDF).

Lots of interesting information in the PDF which I’ll likely talk about later. The pricing however is worth noting now. It’s on page 8 of the PDF document and has certification set at $19,500 for the Complete Remote EHR certification and $23,500 plus travel for the Onsite EHR certification tests. There’s also pricing for the modular certification.

I haven’t found any published prices on CCHIT certification, but in the past the CCHIT EHR certification costs were $37,000 for the complete CCHIT certification and $33,000 for the Preliminary ARRA certified EHR.

Looks like we might have a bit of an EHR certification price way on our hands. $20k is still a lot of money for EHR certification, but $10-15k difference is quite a bit of money.

Here’s a short quote from the CCHIT press release about their time frame for accepting EHR certification applications and when we might see the first certified EHR.

CCHIT plans to launch its authorized HHS certification program on September 20 at 1:00 PM Eastern time with a Town Call Web-cast describing its application and testing process. CCHIT will take new health IT developer applications immediately after at http://cchit.org and the first group of HHS certified complete EHRs and EHR modules will be announced within weeks of that launch. More information about the Town Call will be available at http://www.cchit.org/towncalls. The call will be recorded for later viewing.

It will be interesting to see if Drummond Group of CCHIT can produce the first officially certified EHR vendor and which vendor will hold that distinction.

UPDATE: Weno Healthcare looks to be another potential ONC-ATCB (if they get approved) and their EHR certification pricing looks to be in the $14k-$18k range.

EHR Certifying Bodies

Posted on June 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.

I found this interesting tidbit in the final rule for the EHR Temporary Certification Plan:

“In the Proposed Rule, we stated that we anticipated that there would be no more than 3 applicants for ONC-ATCB status. Based on the comments received, we now believe that there may be up to 5 applicants for ONC-ATCB status. In addition, we believe that up to 2 of these applicants will not have the level of preparedness that we originally estimated for all potential applicants for ONC-ATCB status.”

Interesting to hear that there are likely to be 5 applicants to certify EHR software. Of course, we know that 2 of those bodies are CCHIT and Drummond Group. I also know of one other, but I’m traveling and so I can’t look up the name. Although, I only know this other one based on a conversation. I’ve never seen anything in print.

That leaves a couple other possible EHR certifying organizations. Does anyone know who else is interested?

It’s Official…Drummond Group to Apply as EHR Certifying Body

Posted on March 11, 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 Drummond Group has just officially announced on their blog their intent to apply for and test EHR software to provide an alternative EHR certification to CCHIT. Here’s a few portions of their announcement:

After a thorough review of the recent NPRM along with months of consideration, DGI is excited to announce that we will be applying to be an ONC-ATCB this year.

As mentioned before, receiving the HHS requirements to become an authorized EHR testing and certification body was the missing piece in our decision to move forward. Now that we have that piece, we feel confident in announcing our intention to formally apply.

In our review of the NPRM, we found it sound, reasonable and a big step forward for formal testing and certification criteria to support Health IT. We will offer our comments as requested, but overall it was an excellent effort.

And this point about Drummond Group’s long term plans for EHR certification:

Last point. We won’t spend too much time here on this blog talking about the Permanent Certification program given the more immediate concerns of the Temporary Certification program. We will say we plan on being part of the Permanent Certification program. More importantly, we want to convey that since our initial press release last November, we have known that we are not in EHR testing for the short haul, but rather, the long term.

Cost of EHR Certification

Posted on February 20, 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.

We’ve had a lot of discussion in the past about the cost of EHR certification. It’s been one of the biggest complaints about CCHIT and their EHR certification. One of my readers wanted me to post again about the costs and how this will be such a challenge for new EHR vendors.

First, the problem isn’t that a new EHR vendor couldn’t afford the cost if they wanted to pay it. The problem is that it provides very little benefit to the end users and at the end of the day the cost of the EHR certification would be passed on to the doctors who purchase the EHR.

I’m going to use round numbers, but you can see the detailed CCHIT EHR certification costs on my previous post. Basically as it stands today, full CCHIT EHR certification will run a vendor $37k or more to become certified. Of course, if you just want to be Preliminary ARRA Certified (although we don’t even know if that’s true yet either), then it’s only $33k. Yes, you can certify fewer modules, but that won’t make much sense for most EMR vendors.

Yep, that’s right. $33k that an EMR vendor will have to pay for certification which will add little value to end users and decent marketing value for the EMR vendor.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account the development costs to meet the standards (which I should remind you are still not finalized). I read one EMR vendor say that to become CCHIT certified (this was back in 2006 or so) it cost in the six figure range. That’s a lot of money for what?

We know that the Drummond Group and possibly other organizations are planning to certify EHR as well. In fact, the Drummond Group just launched an EHR Certification blog. In the first comment on their blog, they got a question about how much they’re planning to charge for EHR certification.

I’m sure that these organizations will try to undercut CCHIT as far as EHR certification pricing. I’m just not sure it will be enough to make much difference. Why would they undercut them too much?

New EHR Certifying Body – Drummond Group

Posted on November 3, 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’ve had real problems with the idea of there only being one EHR certifying body for a while now. I think competition usually brings the best out of organizations and forces them to be better than they would have been had there been no competition. Plus, it usually brings the price of things down also.

With that background, I was very happy to see that Drummond Group Plans to Certify EHR software as well. One of the comments on this blog pointed this group out to me and I’m very happy to see that they’re planning to enter the EHR Certification fray. Here’s a short quote from their press release:

Drummond Group has been approached recently by numerous EHR software and services companies that need to be certified.

“Clearly there is a growing demand for EHR certifications, says Rik Drummond, CEO of Drummond Group. “Drummond Group has been supporting Fortune 500 industries and government by certifying the transfer, identity and cybersecurity of their internet information flow over the last ten years. We have also done testing for the CDC, DEA and GSA. Certification of EHR is a natural extension of our testing program, and we believe we can provide great value for the medical community. We look forward to the publishing of the ONC requirements in the days ahead so we can get started.”

This is very good news!

I contacted Drummond Group to try and get an idea of how much the Drummond Group EHR certification might cost. As expected, there answer was that they’d be waiting for the ONC certification criteria before determining the cost and “what” to certify. So, we’ll have to wait to compare Drummond’s EHR certification costs with CCHIT’s EHR certification costs.

I also asked them whether they thought they would continue EHR certification after the EHR stimulus money runs out. Here was their quick response:

We would plan to continue if the users were happy with the certification after the stimulus money is gone…we have tested one standard for over 9 years without stimulus funds. In that case, the users still find great value in certified interoperable products and the numbers continue to grow in adoption. The vendors view Interoperability Certification as two things:
The certification seal adds marketing recognition and the testing is considered an extension of their
own Quality Assurance testing that they could not create internally on their own. It’s a win-win.

If they do decide to continue certifying EHR, I hope they will focus on interoperability certification. That could be beneficial and what I think the EHR stimulus money should have been spent on in the first place.