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CCHIT to Begin Testing Hospital-Developed EHR Technology

December 3, 2010
by David Raths
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‘EACH’ program intended to help hospitals close gaps in their mix of certified and uncertified EHR technologies.

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) is preparing to launch its certification program for hospitals with self-developed electronic health record technology.

During a Dec. 1 webinar, Alisa Ray, CCHIT’s executive director, announced that the organization would begin pilot testing in December with three hospitals: New York University Hospital, Care Partners in Boston and Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill. The official launch of the program will be Jan. 10.

Ray said the program, called EHR Certification Alternative for Hospitals (EACH), is necessary because most hospitals deploy a mix of commercial and self-developed software. All the software that is used to meet meaningful use criteria must be certified by an Office of the National Coordinator (ONC)-authorized testing and certification body. EACH is intended to help hospitals close the gaps they may identify in their mix of certified and uncertified electronic health record (EHR) technologies.

Besides the certification and testing, the nonprofit CCHIT is also offering online learning programs to prepare applicants for testing and certification, and an online self-assessment tool to help hospitals evaluate how their installed EHR technology measures up to Health & Human Services’ criteria and standards

The cost of the certification varies based on criteria tested and their complexity, from $7,650 to $32,550, according to CCHIT.

During the webinar, Ray polled the online audience about when they might begin the EACH program. Forty-nine percent of respondents said in the first quarter of 2011, while 27 percent said the second quarter, and 23 percent said the third quarter. Seventy-five percent said they would be looking to have EHR modules tested as opposed to complete EHR systems.

Ray and EACH program director Patricia Becker noted that CCHIT plans to expand the EACH program to eligible providers in ambulatory practices by the second quarter of 2011 and that CCHIT does have some limited scholarship funding available for critical access hospitals.