EHR Certification: Who, What, When, and How Much Will it Cost?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , April 13, 2010

Barrington, IL-based GE Healthcare's public comment also urges ONC to speed up the process.

"Time is very short for vendors to make any adjustments to EHR technology to meet certification criteria and processes and then to have certified EHR technology available timely for providers to demonstrate meaningful use during 2011. Software development includes multiple steps to ensure high quality software that is safe for patients. Thus, not only must we have a certification process that can start rapidly with high throughput, it is essential that the final meaningful use and certification criteria are issued as soon as possible and that CMS and ONC not make any changes that would require additional EHR functionality beyond those in the CMS and ONC criteria already released," the vendor wrote in its comments.

The timeline and complexity of the process pose barriers to adoption and innovation, CCHIT said in its public comments. "We believe the criteria and standards need refinement in order to drive an achievable step forward in the meaningful use of EHRs," said Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD, CCHIT chair, adding that the commission is "concerned about the possibility of an unintended deceleration in the pace of EHR adoption."

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) also weighed in on the timeline. "AHIMA understands the urgency in establishing an enhanced national certification program. However, given the startup time and resources needed to launch a certification organization, the very tight time constraints this rule establishes could pose a challenge for entities who wish to become" authorized testing and certification bodies.

Starting to sense a theme here? How ONC will address these concerns is just one of many unanswered questions.

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