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HIT Committee Approves Certification Recommendations

August 14, 2009
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The future of EHR software certification became slightly clearer today as the HIT Policy Committee endorsed the recommendations of its Workgroup on Certification and Adoption which supported aligning certification with achieving ‘meaningful use.’

Co-chaired by Intermountain CIO Marc Probst and Paul Egerman, the workgroup recommended that the EHR software ‘certification’ requirement in HITECH be satisfied by a new HHS Certification, rather than using the existing CCHIT imprimatur. In addition, the workgroup recommended that the criteria-creation function be separated from the testing function, and that multiple organizations be allowed to perform the testing (CCHIT presumably being one of those).

The workgroup recommended that ONC develop the new criteria, and asked CCHIT to communicate its current criteria to that body so ONC did not have to ‘start from scratch.’ A gap analysis will eventually be done to determine the differences between HHS and CCHIT certification. According to the recommendations, 2008 CCHIT Certified vendors will only have to pass that gap testing.

NIST, the workgroup said, could help ONC establish or select an accreditation organization and process.

Despite concerns from HIT Policy Committee Member Neal Calman (The Institute for Family Health) that the new processes, which will take months to refine and roll out, will slow the adoption of software in the market, the recommendations were adopted at today’s meeting after being tabled last month pending further study.

Beyond the discussion around certification organizations, the workgroup continued to stress its focus on privacy, security and interoperability, along with favoring only ‘high-level’ requirements for functionality.

Related Blog (opinion): CCHIT & the DMV


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