January 6, 2010 - While the definition of “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is still pending, vendors are seeking to get IT products certified in hopes it will soon pay off.
Within the ARRA is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or the "HITECH Act," which includes programs under Medicare and Medicaid to provide incentive payments for the "meaningful use" of certified electronic health records (EHR) technology.
One of the certification programs is the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), which provides consensus-based, government-recognized benchmark for inpatient EHR products. GE Healthcare announced today it received is the CCHIT Certified mark on its Centricity Enterprise Version 6.0 for use in acute care hospitals.
To qualify for federal dollars, EHRs will likely need to meet standards such as security, certified inpatient products are examined for computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and electronic medication administration capabilities (eMAR), including related clinical decision support. As a CCHIT Certified product, Centricity Enterprise has been tested and passed inspection of criteria for CPOE and eMAR. The Commission focused certification testing on these areas first because they have the lowest rate of adoption in hospitals, but are thought to offer the highest value for improvement of care.
CCHIT’s certification compliance criteria and its design for a certification inspection process is Tan independent, nonprofit organization that is the recognized body in the United States for certifying health information technology products. The inspection process is based on real-life medical scenarios designed to test products against the clinical needs of providers and the quality and safety needs of healthcare consumers and payers. One script, for example, recreates a scenario of a middle-aged man admitted through the emergency department after sustaining fractures in an automobile accident. The script tests the ability of the EHR to provide clinical decision support during the ordering and administration of medications, and to track whether laboratory and radiology orders have been entered and received.