CCHIT Certification and SHOVEL

Posted on March 25, 2006 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and 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 been reading quite a bit of discussion about a new CCHIT certification that is being created for EMR companies. I really think these medical certifications are interesting since you really have no requirement to be certified and certification really doesn’t mean you are necessarily better. However, with the number of EMR companies out there a consumer certainly will be looking at certification as some means of proof that an EMR has features that they will need or want. Too bad this isn’t necessarily the case. Either way, the CCHIT certification is coming whether you like it or not. Here’s a link to the CCHIT certification requirements. You have until March 31st for public comments.

Many of the smaller/free EMR companies out there are really frustrated with the certification process proposed by CCHIT and they’ve been making their frustration clear in an EMR forum called EMRUpdate. Theit frustration from my point of view lies mainly in the enormous cost to be CCHIT certified including a large yearly royalty fee and the requirement to code a bunch of useless enhancements just for certifications sake. I can’t say I disagree with these 2 items.

I also think the certification process is wrong because it is an all or nothing certification. That means if you are missing one feature then you would not be certified. This really doesn’t make sense. An EMR company should receive a grade instead of a certification. This would allow each EMR vendor the ability to justify why they got the grade that they did. Not only would this be fairer, but it would also give more information to doctors evaluatin an EMR.

A group at EMRUpdate have put together a letter that they are sending to CCHIT about flaws found in the CCHIT certification process. Any of those interested in participating in these recommendations can sign their name at EMRUpdate Draft Letter to Dr. Mark Leavitt, MD, Ph.D. You can see the thread that created this letter here.

Depending on the response to this letter, many of the people who participated in creating the content for this letter have talked about creating a new Certification sponsored by They’ve termed it SHOVEL – Software for Healthcare Organizations EMR Voluntary Ligitamacy and I better give some props to AlBorg who has done a significant amount of work on this idea. I like the idea, but as stated in the thread creating the idea, I think it will probably take 30-40 EMR vendors coming on board to make it work.

I guess we’ll see how much power an online group of vendors, consultants, doctors and EMR lovers are able to do. Let me know what you think of the certification process and SHOVEL.