CCHIT Town Hall Meeting on Preliminary ARRA Certified EHR

Posted on September 11, 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’ll be honest with you. For my own health I took off the last month from reading about CCHIT. I guess the birth of my third child made a difference as well. However, I’d been getting some comments and emails lately about CCHIT’s new certification programs and so I had to go and take a look at what was going on. Well, let’s just say that CCHIT has yet to disappoint me. They are so full of CCHIT that it’s not even funny. The conclusions they come to are crazy. Ok, now that I’ve made my bias clear, take a look at some of the things they’re saying.

One of CCHIT’s first conclusions made (in this blog post) after doing some polling at a CCHIT town hall meeting of vendors (mostly) is as follows:

Only a small fraction intend to wait until final ARRA certification is available. This appears to support our contention that we can’t afford to wait – products must be available, and providers must get started right away in order to have a chance of achieving meaningful use in 2011-2012.

I love how they switch the vendors desire to get the preliminary ARRA certification with a providers desire to have the same. Of course, EMR vendors want to be able to say that they are ARRA certified. EMR vendors (most) aren’t selling product right now and so they want anything they can get that will help convince providers to actually buy product instead of waiting for all the ARRA certification details. This is a vendor desire. It’s not a provider desire. Providers want HHS to move faster with their HHS Certification details.

Now on to what Mark Leavitt calls the “bottom line:”

What’s the bottom line? Well, it looks like these new programs have a good chance of delivering what is needed from certification to support an accelerated adoption of health IT in the ARRA environment.

I really don’t get how they draw these conclusions. The town hall meeting showed that EHR vendors have an interest in becoming certified. I didn’t need to have a meeting for that. I just needed to dangle $36 billion of stimulus money and say you have to be EHR certified to know that many EHR vendors will want to get certified.

It also might be probably is true that $36 billion of stimulus money will accelerate EHR adoption. However, there’s no proof that CCHIT certification or HHS certification or any EHR certification for that matter will actually accelerate adoption or the more important goal of successful adoption of EMR software.

Here’s a link to the best chart from the CCHIT town hall meeting with vendors. What that chart tells me is that 60% of those attending only really want certification to get the ARRA stimulus money. 24% of the EMR vendors don’t know the difference between the CCHIT Certified and the Preliminary ARRA Certified and so they don’t know what they want. That leaves about 16% (probably those who are already CCHIT Certified) that want the full CCHIT Certified. Sounds right. Most EHR vendors just want to find a way to sell more product and get access to the EHR stimulus money, right?

Point being. Let’s not kid ourselves about what CCHIT is really trying to accomplish. The results from the polls on the CCHIT blog post describe well that CCHIT is about the EHR vendor and not the doctors, clinical practices, or improving the quality of healthcare.

That feels better. Now I better write my post about the difference between CCHIT Certified and Preliminary ARRA Certified and the road map ahead for CCHIT. I’ll post that tomorrow.