The future of CCHIT

During the year of 2009, when the HITECH act allocated stimulus funds and assigned the responsibility for specifying the criteria for physicians to qualify for these funds, people in the Healthcare IT business have been wondering what would happen to CCHIT (The Certification Commission for Health IT) which is a non-profit consortium made up of among others the traditional large EMR vendors.  If the government wanted to make HIT easier, cheaper and more effective, it could not just adopt the CCHIT methodology which hadn’t been very effective in promoting EMR adoption.

From the start, it was clear that the requirement for Meaningful Use would not fit neatly into the CCHIT requirements, so the relevance of the organization was in doubt.  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on January 13, 2010 made it clear that the government wanted to be vendor neutral in its requirements.  Thus, CCHIT had to do something to play a role in this new development in the EHR marketplace.

This article from InformationWeek reports the first steps being taken by CCHIT since the January 13 rules (which were actually released on Dec 30, 2009).  Basically they have introduced a scaled down version of their “Comprehensive” certification program called the “Modular” program.  They also offer to certify for ARRA stimulus those vendors who have already spent a huge amount of money to pass their Comprehensive program.  Of course, such certification program does not really exist yet because the rules for certification have not yet been finalized.

To make this situation even more interesting is the perspective from Practice Fusion.  You probably already realize that nobody speaks without self-interest in this muddy puddle we call Healthcare IT.   As an upstart in the EMR/EHR space, Practice Fusion obviously enjoys watching the established vendors in the CCHIT organization squirm.  The fact that the National Institute of Standards and Technology has contracted with Booz Allen Hamilton to develop testing methods and process of certification of EHR will keep the squirming going a while longer.

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4 Responses

  1. The whole entire HITECH act is just a mess. Meaningful use is so weakly defined and EHR certification is useless. It’s really unfortunate that the EMR stimulus money was shoddily put together with the other ARRA stimulus. I will give the government credit for rendering CCHIT even more useless than it was. Granted, they’re still kicking and screaming, but I predict that won’t last too much longer. The word is getting out. Mark Leavitt was very smart to “retire” when he did.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Les Murphy, EMR Stimulus. EMR Stimulus said: The future of CCHIT « Data Driven with a Human Touch: You probably already realize that nobody speaks without self… http://bit.ly/8zBJye […]

  3. You maybe right John that CCHIT will fade away but they do have a head start and the resources to toss around to continue as a significant player in certifying EHR. I don’t think it is healthy to have a single certifying body, so I too like that how the environment is changing.

    I am not sure I agree entirely the Meaningful Use criteria are meaningless and useless. The world of EHR is stuck at a very low local maximum. Cost is too high, usability is low are just two of the issues that many have raised. This sounds so much like the old enterprise software (ERP) “reengineering” days 20 years ago. I am gratified to see some of the newer solutions that are changing the game. Meaningful Use requirements may just give innovators a shot in the arm so patients and physicians ultimately benefit.

  4. I feel today medical practitioners are looking to avail of this federal incentive by trying to comply with the definition of meaningful use but at the same time EHR providers are looking at their own set of profits.
    This misunderstanding is mostly I believe as a result of wrong interpretation of the federal guidelines.. The EHR providers need to look at these guidelines from the prospective of the practitioners who deal with different specialties.
    Each specialty EHR has its own set of challenges or requirements which I believe is overlooked by in most EHR vendors in a effort to merely follows federal guidelines. This is resulting in low usability to the practitioners, thus less ROI, finally redundancy of the EHR solution in place.
    I think ROI is very important factor that should be duly considered when look achieve a ‘meaning use’ out of a EHR solution. Though one may get vendors providing ‘meaning use’ at a lower cost, their ROI / savings through the use of their EHR might be pretty low when compared to costlier initial investment. Found a pretty useful ROI tool that is pretty customizable and easy to use. It also accounts for the different specialty EHR’s too.

    Also the introduction of REC’s through the HITECH act. is a great way to avail of quality EHR solutions at competitive prices. The stiff competition among not only these REC’s but also among EHR vendors ( to become a preferred vendor of a given REC) will result in lot of positives to medical practioners.
    Looking the funding provided to the REC’s, the staggered grant allocation system also promises to be an unbiased way of allocating funds. It will also help in the concept of REC’s helping out each with their own unique business models. It can be one of the possible answers to the ‘safe EHR vendor’ challenge as discussed by many critics.

    Sorry to have diverted a bit from the topic but I feel this HITECT act and the REC’s are going to play an important role, as discussed above in the successful EHR implementation in the medical practices in our country.

    As far as implementation challenges goes, the federal guidelines for certification and usability are pretty much clear. Useful improvisation on these lines can make ones EHR’s friendly to most practices of varying specialties.

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