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Back Beat

March 30, 2009
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CCHIT: HIT at the Turning Point

The Chicago-based Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) has updated a roadmap for expansion of its certification activities while emphasizing the importance of flexibility and responsiveness as the impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act emerge.

The nine new programs set to launch in 2010 and beyond will extend certification to new specialties, settings, and populations. They will also introduce labeling that recognizes advanced capabilities in EHRs as users become ready to adopt them, it says.

“I believe this is the most important turning point in the history of health IT, and of our organization as well,” said Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Commission. “With about $20B in funding and incentives for EHRs, health information exchange and associated technologies - based on certification as a key qualification - we must be very flexible and responsive as Federal health IT initiatives emerge and grow.”

The Board of Commissioners voted to begin development of four programs - Clinical Research, Dermatology, Advanced Interoperability and Advanced Quality - in 2010. Two other areas were previously scheduled for a 2010 launch: Behavioral Health and Long Term Care. Four other certification programs will kick off in 2011: Eye Care, Oncology, Advanced Security and Advanced Clinical Decision Support. Development of Obstetrics/Gynecology certification was placed on a schedule for possible launch in 2012.

Northwestern Offers MS in Medical Informatics

Chicago-based Northwestern University has introduced a Master of Science in Medical Informatics online program designed for clinical health and healthcare IT professionals.

Offered in partnership with the Feinberg School of Medicine, the program focuses on the use of technology to improve the design, integration, implementation, management, and evaluation of enterprise-wide healthcare information systems. Graduates of this online program, says the school, will be poised to become leaders in clinical information technology, research and education, and health care administration.

To learn more about Northwestern's Master of Science in Medical Informatics degree, visit

Online Courses Focus on Stimulus Bill, Health Data Exchange

Washington, D.C.-based Health IT Certification is offering a complimentary 69-page online course on the stimulus bill's impact on health information technology.

In addition, it says it has six new courses for its professional certification program and a revision of the curriculum to reflect the knowledge needed by advanced users of Health Information Exchange (HIE) to achieve data standards, governance structure, telemedicine and personal health record goals.

Health IT Certification provides professional training and certification for those responsible for planning, selecting, implementing, and managing EHRs, HIE, and other health information technologies.

To register, send e-mail to

School's Out for CIO Boot Camp

Forty-one “students” graduated from CHIME's (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) Healthcare CIO Boot Camp.

This was the 12th offering of the Healthcare CIO Boot Camp, with 515 graduates, says the organization. The program includes presentations, small group discussion, case study, mentoring, coaching, and interactive problem solving.

The next offering of the Healthcare CIO Boot Camp is now open for registration, and will be held October 24-27, 2009, in Indian Wells, Calif. Due to the interactive nature of this program, space is limited to a maximum of 45 participants. For more details about the Healthcare CIO Boot Camp, visit or send an email to

Ohio Association Unveils EMR Standards of Excellence Program

The Hilliard, Ohio-based Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) is offering physicians a chance to get a head start on the process of adopting electronic records through its EMR Standards of Excellence Program (EMR SOE).

The EMR SOE Program began in March of 2008 and is available exclusively to OSMA members. It is designed to help enhance EMR adoption among physicians by identifying vendors who have agreed to include physician-friendly terms and conditions in their contracts with medical practices. In addition, at a minimum, the EMR vendors in the program must be certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).

The OSMA has worked with The Coker Group, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in healthcare consulting, to identify terms and conditions that help protect physicians' rights in the EMR contracting process. The Coker Group also provides OSMA members with an initial vendor contract and quote validation review at no charge, it says.

Executive Conference on Effectively Spending Stimulus

New York-based Healthcare Informatics and The Center for Health Design of Concord, Calif., are teaming up to hold an executive conference that will feature discussions on how healthcare executives can most effectively spend stimulus money. The conference, X3 Summit, will be held in San Francisco from June 14-16.