Certification advancing at faster rate than last year

By Diana Manos
12:00 AM

CHICAGO - Certification of healthcare information technology is advancing at a faster rate than last year, according to Mark Leavitt, chair of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology.

Market acceptance of certification has increased, Mark Leavitt said. Last year in the first four quarters of the Commission's existence, it certified about 10 percent of the ambulatory healthcare IT product market per quarter. Now, in certifying the hospital market, the commission has so far certified six inpatient products out of 24 possible vendors. "This is about a quarter of the inpatient market, so we are ahead of last year," said Mark Leavitt.

At a meeting hosted by the Department of Health and Human Services Monday, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt praised CCHIT's leadership. "We are making serious progress here and in large measures," the secretary said.

Mark Leavitt, who gave a report before the HHS American Health Information Community, commended the six vendors recently certified for inpatient electronic health record products for  stepping up and being leaders. "This is a tough test we asked them to pass," he said. "The test actually drilled deep. We had six applicants and all six passed so I can assure you that they prepared long and hard."


Mark Leavitt said that two of the certifications were pre-market certification of new vendors, which will require the product to be 45 days on the market before fully certified. He noted that the new vendors came to the market because of the certification now offered through the commission. "Certification was the major reason why the vendors developed the products," he said. "We are actually encouraging capitol investment in products."

In related news, CCHIT will release a draft of 2008 certification testing criteria standards Nov. 21 to include adjustments based on comments from more than 1,000 letters received and reviewed by the commission, Mark Leavitt said.

Next July, CCHIT will begin testing vendors' products for interoperability with the help of a third party, the MITRE Corporation. "One of the most important things we can do for end users is make sure that systems are interoperable," Mark Leavitt noted.

Nancy Davenport-Ennis, CEO of the National Patient Advocate Foundation and a member of the AHIC said she feels there is a huge degree of momentum. "Continue to stay the course," she told Mark Leavitt. "Thank you for keeping the patient at the center of your universe."

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