CCHIT at work on new timelines, new programs

By Bernie Monegain
09:56 AM

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology has published on its Web site the criteria and test scripts developed during 2009, along with a newly developed "Concise Guide to CCHIT Criteria."

The guide maps the criteria to the characteristics of a qualified electronic health record as specified in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and highlights the 2009 criteria changes. The commission is also planning to transition its certification program timelines to adapt to the new requirements of ARRA.
The criteria, released on May 29, pertain to ambulatory (office-based), inpatient (hospital-based), enterprise and emergency department electronic health records. CCHIT also published criteria for the new stand-alone electronic prescribing certification, the ambulatory add-on options in child health and cardiovascular medicine. The accompanying "Concise Guide to CCHIT Criteria" is specific to the ambulatory and inpatient criteria.
"With the release of these criteria, the commission is transitioning its certification program timelines to adapt to the new requirements of ARRA as well as the still-emerging work processes of the Office of the National Coordinator and its advisory committees," said Mark Leavitt, MD, chairman of the commission. "Instead of immediately launching a 2009-2010 certification program, we have submitted the criteria to the Health Information Technology Standards Committee for review, anticipating some feedback by Aug. 26, after which we will work to quickly resolve any gaps and begin accepting applications for the 2009-2010 certification programs.  Meanwhile, we will be very busy updating our policies and testing new ideas with the goal of offering an array of certification programs to support more rapid, widespread adoption and meaningful use of EHR technologies."

During his testimony to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) last month, Leavitt highlighted areas to be explored, including EHR ratings on usability and successful implementation, updates to policies posing a barrier to certification of open source licensed applications and certifying self-developed, assembled and modular EHR technology. 

Leavitt said the commission would soon announce town calls or other opportunities soon to gather stakeholder input in these areas.