CCHIT to launch alternative EHR certification program

by Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | November 11, 2010
The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology will launch an electronic health record certification program for hospitals that aren't using vendor-developed EHR products, CCHIT announced Wednesday.

Dubbed the EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals, the program will target hospitals that have "uncertified legacy software, customized commercial products, or self-developed EHR systems or modules," according to the commission's release. EACH will launch on Dec. 15.

"Our new certification program is an alternative for hospitals that have developed their systems with products that are not individually certified or are a mix of certified and uncertified products," Alisa Ray, executive director of CCHIT, said in prepared remarks. "These hospital EHR systems are often very sophisticated and may have been developed over many years. Yet, they must be certified for hospitals to qualify for financial incentives through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and avoid Medicare penalties."

The Chicago, Ill.-based CCHIT, a nonprofit organization approved by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information as an Authorized Testing and Certification Body of EHR technology, will hold a free webcast and teleconference on Dec.1 to share more information about the EACH program.

"Hospitals certifying products in this new program can be assured that they meet a critical first step in qualifying for ARRA incentive payments and that their EHR technology is prepared to support the achievement of meaningful use by its clinicians," Ray said.