CCHIT to release new programs in 90 days

By Bernie Monegain
09:40 AM

More than 225 volunteers with the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) are updating and broadening certification programs for electronic health record technologies.

Some of the new programs are slated to launch within 90 days, according to CCHIT officials. Others will launch in the months that follow.

The volunteers met in Chicago last week for a kickoff meeting – the largest ever for the commission's volunteer force, with more than 80 percent of the 265 members serving on 19 work groups attending the two-day conference.  The volunteers represent a wide array of specialties, settings and populations, enabling the commission to offer tailored programs to serve diverse needs, according to CCHIT officials.   

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"The country is clearly at a critical point in advancing health IT to a level that has significant implications for the delivery of healthcare," said Susan Kressly, MD, a practicing pediatrician and member of the Child Health Work Group.  "The collective expertise and passion of the volunteers assembled at the kickoff meeting give me great optimism for what is possible. As a pediatrician, I'm excited to be a part of the process and have an opportunity to make sure that the unique health IT needs of children are acknowledged and addressed."

The volunteers received more detailed guidance on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Commission Chairman Mark Leavitt, MD, also explained how those CCHIT plans lined up with the recommendations of the Health IT Policy Committee, a federal advisory committee established by ARRA.

"For providers and hospitals to have any chance of meeting ARRA incentive requirements in 2011, certified EHR technologies must be promptly available," said Leavitt.  "To do that, we will launch preliminary HHS/ARRA EHR technology certification programs in less than 90 days, drawing upon our inspection and certification experience and marketplace knowledge. Our HHS/ARRA certification will be available to modular, open source and self developed technologies as well as comprehensive EHRs.  Our current, very comprehensive certification programs – though no longer the sole route to government certification – will become even more robust to serve EHR purchasers who want maximal assurance of EHR completeness and integration."

Redesigned Web site, new name

CCHIT has launched a new Web site designed to make information about the certification programs more accessible to providers who wish to find certified EHR technology and software developers who are interested in applying for certification. Also included is information on how stakeholders can participate in the certification process, such as volunteering for a work group or submitting public comments. The Web address will remain

CCHIT also has made a small change in its name to more closely follow the standard in the HIT industry. The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology becomes the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology.

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