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Number of EHR Certifying Bodies Continues to Increase

Posted on July 21, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

An article by Government Health IT’s Mary Mosquera has some interesting data from ONC about the number of EHR certifying bodies there might be available to EHR vendors. Here’s the most relevant section:

So far, ONC has received six or seven completed applications out of the 30 it sent to organizations that have requested them since July 1, said Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator, at a meeting of the advisory Health IT Policy Committee.

ONC released in June its final rule for the temporary certification program, which lays out steps organizations must take to be authorized by ONC to both test and certify that EHRs can perform the functions required for meaningful use.

“We are optimistic that we will have a new landscape in the certification realm in which, instead of having a single certification body, there will be more opportunity, a broader pipeline for certification, hopefully more price competition and shorter waiting times to get certification,” Blumenthal said at the committee meeting July 21.

6-7 applications to certify EHR software and 24 more out there that could come in. That sure blows the initial projection of 5 EHR Certifying body applications out of the water. I’m not really sure the business model for these organization. The customer base is about 300 EMR companies. That’s a pretty small market for these organizations to share.

I imagine this is really bad news for those people at CCHIT too. Mostly because CCHIT’s only product is certifying EHR software. At least other organizations like the Drummond Group do a number of certifications. Who would have guessed that the ARRA EMR stimulus money that looked so promising for CCHIT could become the legislation that drives them to irrelevancy?

CCHIT Comments on Final Rule for Temporary EHR Certification

Posted on June 22, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

After noting that CCHIT had gone quiet and posting about Drummond Group’s view of the EHR certification final rule, it seems appropriate that CCHIT has finally come out with their own comments.

The CCHIT blog post was done by Alisa Ray but says it’s a statement from Karen M. Bell, MD, Chair, CCHIT. I think that’s a bad sign for those of us who like executives that blog that Karen Bell sent the blog post through Alisa Ray, but maybe Karen’s still just getting setup on the new job.

There’s nothing really all that shocking or newsworthy in the CCHIT blog post. Here’s the cliff notes version (with some of my own commentary):
CCHIT will apply to be a “ONC Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB).” – Not a surprise since EHR Certification is CCHIT’s only business model.
CCHIT will continue their “independently developed programs.” – They used their favorite word “assurance” in correlation with their programs again. Sadly, they just assure doctors that some programmer knows how to run their test scripts before paying CCHIT $30k+ to get their EHR certification. They don’t assure that an EMR is more usable, or has a higher implementation success rate, or that it saves more lives or increases reimbursement. Nope. Those assurances would run at least $100k to certify;-)

At least in the blogosphere, there’s been a number of healthcare IT bloggers proclaiming the end of CCHIT. Sadly, I’m not one of those. I think they’ll be around for a while and there’s still A LOT more educating that needs to spread about what an EHR certification is and what it is not.

Also, Michelle at Occam PM wrote a blog post that includes some interesting word clouds of the CCHIT and Drummond Group bog posts. An interesting view of what was said.

Drummond Group’s View of EHR Temporary Certification Program Final Rule

Posted on June 21, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If anybody was doubting that Drummond Group was ready to be a player in the EHR certification rule, I think this blog post should make them think twice. You can tell from the tone of the post that Drummond Group had been waiting for HHS to issue the final rule so they could get moving.

In the same blog post, Drummond Group provides a short summary of some of the major changes to the rule after the comments:

* Waiving of the 30-day delay in the effective rule. This is by far the most significant “change” in terms of how it impacts vendors, providers and hospitals. Typical procedure for Final Rules is to have 30-day delay after it is on the Federal Register before it becomes “effective”, but this can be waived in certain situations. What this means practically is that once the Final Rule goes into the Federal Register, say around July 1, the Temporary Certification Program will be active and ONC can begin processing applications from organizations like ourselves intending to be ATCBs. ONC does give themselves 30 days to process and approve the application so you still may not see an ATCB officially testing until possibly August.

* Temporary Certification Sunsets No Earlier than 12/31/11. The NPRM had stated that the Temporary Program ends (and the Permanent Program begins) when there is an accredited ONC-ACB. Now, the Temporary Program is given a clear window of operation through the end of 2011, and it may be extended if an ONC-ACB is not found by then. This gives more stability to the Temporary Program.

* All ATCBs Must Support Remote Testing. The NPRM had previously only required support of testing at the local ATCB facility. Now, remote testing is required for all ATCBs. Remote testing can be done either at the development site (vendor) or deployment site (provider or hospital implementation). Based on our DGI surveys, remote testing was by far the preferred method, and ONC also received the same feedback.

Drummond Group also suggests that ONC really did listen to the comments that were given. I don’t doubt this actually. The people I’ve met from ONC really do seem like good people that are trying to do their best within the government limitations. It’s just unfortunate that the government limitations are so onerous.

Now the real fun begins as the various EHR certifying bodies start to appear and EMR vendors get to decide which body they should use.