Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Latest from CCHIT: "New Paths to Certification" (Recap)

If you didn't have time to take part in today's Town Call with CCHIT (or, if you did, and would like a pared-down recapitulation), here is a list of major points worth knowing:

There are now three paths to certification, and three different certification types therein:
  • 1) EHR-C - which stands for EHR Comprehensive
  • 2) EHR-M - which stands for EHR Module
  • 3) EHR-S - which stands for EHR Site
All three constitute certification, but differ in their requirements.

Comprehensive - "Rigorous certification of comprehensive EHR systems that significantly exceed minimum Federal standards requirements." Needs to meet all of the Meaningful Use Objectives.

Module - "Flexible certification of Federal standards compliance for EHR, HIE, eRx, PHR, Registry and other EHR-related technologies." Needs to meet one or more of the Meaningful Use Objectives. Applies to many specialty-specific EMRs.

Site - "Simplified, low cost certification of EHR technologies in use at a specific site." Applies to "any physician office, clinic, hospital, other facility or network that has self-developed or assembled an EHR from various sources and wishes to apply to ARRA incentives."

Process of Applying for ARRA Incentive Payments
  • Certification by CCHIT allots various certification "codes" to the EHR vendor -- which apply specifically, and exclusively, to that vendor, and vary depending on the corresponding status (EHR-C versus -M versus -S have different codes) . These are then conveyed to the health care provider upon usage.
  • Health care provider submits these codes in their ARRA incentive payment application.
  • Health care provider must also submit additional "measure data" required for ARRA's own definition "meaningful use" (separate from CCHIT criteria).
Other Info / Points of Clarification
  • Providers do not apply to CCHIT for the incentive payment; they apply to HHS. The means by which this will be done is still unclear, and has not yet been stipulated. Will it be a contractor? An online site? Via regional extension centers? What we do know is it will be through some government-named body that will 1) accept CCHIT codes and provider application; 2) assess, reject or accept quality measure data; 3) send or withhold the incentive check.
  • EHR-M status can be awarded to groups of vendors. If certification is awarded to a group of vendors, they collectively must cover all (as opposed to one, or a few) Meaningful Use Objectives.
  • Certification awarded in two year increments.
  • Certification no longer "locked" into a software's parent version; all upgrades that maintain the previously approved Meaningful Use Objectives maintain those corresponding approval codes.
  • A provider's site can be certified as EHR-S, even if the EHR software has not been approved as EHR-C or EHR-M. If a site uses an EHR-C or EHR-M, then it is certified as an EHR-S. The converse, however, is not true: EHR-S does not confer -M or -C certification status onto the software in use.
  • CCHIT testing will begin in September of 2009. There will be no freestanding certification for 2009-2010. All testing will be geared toward the ARRA requirements for the upcoming 2011-2012 period. In other words, there will be no maintenance of any old CCHIT certification. (Click here for more on ARRA timing.)
If you have additional questions, you can email dwilson@cchit.org, me, or you can submit your comment below.

Complete CCHIT Presentation slide show available here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

CCHIT Hosts "Town Call" Web Conference June 16 & 17

Tired of seeming complacent? Well, here's a chance to make yourself heard:
CCHIT to Propose New Paths to Certification

CCHIT has announced two Town Call web conferences on June 16 and 17 to gather stakeholder input on new paths to certification of electronic health record (EHR) technologies, with the goal of supporting more rapid, widespread adoption and meaningful use under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

To join the calls:

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 1 PM EDT / 10 AM PDT
“New Paths to Certification: Dialog with the Open Source Community”
Dial-In Number: (866) 900-5706
Conference ID: 15249954

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 11 AM EDT / 8 AM PDT
“New Paths to Certification”
Dial-In Number: (866) 900-5706
Conference ID: 15316708

For more information, see CCHIT Town Calls.
Be sure to tune in!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Meaningful use" criteria slated for June 16

Briefly: much buzzed-about meaningful use criteria will supposedly be released by the federal government on June 16. These criteria will apply to ambulatory and in-patient EMRs.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jury out on specifics of stimulus in New York

Because my company is based in New York I've gotten a lot of queries about how the national total of $19,000,000 allotted toward health care technology will be available to the state of New York. The best answer I can give is: check out the New York State Senate's page, which includes a helpful breakdown of national funding versus New York funding, arranged by application and area of impact.

But next to "Health Information Technology" for New York? A looming and conspicuous: "TBD."

So, stay tuned and check back. I'll convey the details as soon as I know them.

--FR