News | July 20, 2009

225 Volunteers Met to Update EHR Certification Programs

July 20, 2009 – Over 225 volunteers with the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) came together for a kickoff meeting last week in Chicago to update and broaden certification programs for electronic health record (EHR) technologies – some to be launched within 90 days, others in the months to follow.
The meeting was the largest ever for the Commission’s volunteer force, with over 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 CCHIT to offer tailored programs to serve their diverse needs.
The volunteers, most already aware of the CCHIT’s new plans to meet the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), received more detailed guidance on how that would be accomplished. Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., commission chair, also explained how those plans lined up with the recommendations of the HIT Policy Committee, a Federal advisory committee established by ARRA that was meeting in Washington, D.C., at the same time as the kickoff.
“For providers and hospitals to have any chance of meeting ARRA incentive requirements in 2011, certified EHR technologies must be promptly available,” said Dr. 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.”
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 additional information about ways stakeholders can participate in the certification process, such as volunteer for a work group or submit 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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