Thursday, July 02, 2009

More Access to CCHIT!

Have you heard the news? CCHIT is reviewing additional certification options for EMR's! If you've looked at the current CCHIT certification requirements - it's a daunting task. Fifty-three pages of daunting, to be exact. After working in and managing practices in the past, I welcome most of their requirements. It's all the technical, behind the scenes, stuff you never see that I don't get. Not to worry, I have the best technical staff anyone could ever want. They have been pounding out countless hours to meet these 53 pages of challenge. However, not all EMR's are created or developed equal and CCHIT is reviewing certification options for these groups.

One type of EMR group concentrates their efforts on the charting, prescribing and tasking portions. These EMR's integrate with other PM products allowing physicians to keep their current PM system. CCHIT is now looking at certification that would be specific to this type of carved out product.

Another EMR type is practice specific - Practices that are in the process of developing their own EMR that will meet their specific needs. These groups will also have the opportunity to receive certification for their creation. Why is this important? If certified, these practices will now become eligible for stimulus funds available through the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act/HITECH Act.

Here's an excerpt from CCHIT on June 8, 2009 that highlights the recommendations from the certification committee:
  • A rigorous certification for comprehensive EHR systems that significantly exceed minimum Federal standards requirements. This certification (EHR-C) would be targeted to the needs of providers who want maximal assurance of EHR capabilities and compliance

  • A new, modular certification program for electronic prescribing, personal health records, registries, and other technologies. Focusing on basic compliance with Federal standards and security, the EHR-M program would be offered at lower cost, and could accommodate a wide variety of specialties, settings, and technologies. It would appeal to providers who prefer to combine technologies from multiple certified sources.

  • A simplified, low cost site-level certification. This program would enable providers who self-develop or assemble EHRs from non certified sources to also qualify for the ARRA incentives.

There are many options in the types of EMR's available. By offering certifications to a variety of EMR products, CCHIT is opening the door for more practices to take advantage of available funds. This then allows the important quick sharing of patient information - especially when it may be needed the most.

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