CCHIT to shutter after 10 years

'We are concluding our operations with pride in what has been accomplished'
By Bernie Monegain
10:33 AM
Alisa Ray

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, better known by its acronym CCHIT, is ending all operations, and expects to conclude the process by Nov. 14.

Founded in 2004, CCHIT provided certification services for health IT products and education for healthcare providers and IT developers. Five years prior to the passage of the HITECH Act, which enabled today’s Office of the National Coordinator certification programs, CCHIT worked in public-private collaboration to pioneer the design, development and implementation of health IT testing and certification programs.

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"We are concluding our operations with pride in what has been accomplished," Alisa Ray, CCHIT executive director, said in an Oct. 28 news release. "For the past decade CCHIT has been the leader in certification services, supported by our loyal volunteers, the contribution of our boards of trustees and commissioners, and our dedicated staff. We have worked effectively in the private and public sectors to advance our mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology. We have served hundreds of health IT developers and provided valuable education to our healthcare provider stakeholders."

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"Though CCHIT attained self-sustainability as a private independent certification body and continued to thrive as an authorized ONC testing and certification body, the slowing of the pace of ONC 2014 Edition certification and the unreliable timing of future federal health IT program requirements made program and business planning for new services uncertain. CCHIT’s trustees decided that, in the current environment, operations should be carefully brought to a close," added Ray.

CCHIT, a not-for-profit organization, will donate its remaining assets, primarily its intellectual property, to the HIMSS Foundation.

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CCHIT announced in January it would be leaving the EHR certification business. At that time Ray cited uncertainty in the future regulatory timetable, and talked about the potential for advisory services and thought leadership.

"Our board has looked at the ONC certification and testing business — and in particular the new requirements for 2014. It's been very variable, from a business perspective. So in terms of just managing operations and trying to keep a full staff synced through the peaks and valleys, it's been very hard to do," said Ray in an interview with Healthcare IT News.

"This is our sole line of business right now, ONC testing and certification," she said. "So we're very susceptible – if there are updates in the program that slow things down for a little while, if the vendors don't come right away, then there's a lag in our revenue because we get paid by them needing testing.

"It's bold move, to exit a business and a revenue stream, but strategically it feels right to align better with what we were created to do," she added.