The task of developing and maintaining certification criteria should be separate from the function of actually testing software or organizations against that criteria, and there should be more than one organization that performs such testing, according to the HIT Policy Committee Workgroup on Certification and Adoption, which delivered its recommendations to the overall committee today.
However, apart from endorsing five high-level recommendations, the overall workgroup did not endorse the presentation in total, leaving the fate of CCHIT unclear.
The most vocal critic of the suggestions was Neal Calman of the Institute for Family Health, who expressed concern that such a change in process would create paralysis in the market just when providers must embark on their HIT journey, if they are to qualify for HITECH funds.
The five accepted goals were:
- Focus Certification on Meaningful Use
- Leverage Certification process to improve progress on Security, Privacy, and Interoperability
- Improve objectivity and transparency of the certification process
- Expand Certification to include a range of software sources: Open source, self-developed, etc.
- Develop a Short-Term Transition plan
In addition to advocating that more than one organization be eligible to perform certification testing, the workgroup suggested that HHS Certification criteria should be developed by ONC with the involvement of NIST, which would assist in developing a “comprehensive process for conformity assessment including testing, certification, accreditation and surveillance.”
The workgroup further suggested that the new certification criteria be limited in scope, focused directly on meeting the meaningful use definition, also presented to the committee today. To bridge the current CCHIT certification criteria with the new HHS Certification criteria, gaps would be identified and published. The workgroup stated that it could have such a gap analysis ready by Labor Day.