Regular readers will be aware of my fondness for the approaches to Health IT certification that have been adopted by the CCHIT.
Well it seems that the program is under some threat due to the change in Administration we are now seeing.
By Diana Manos, Senior Editor 11/14/08
With continued focus on how the Obama administration might affect healthcare IT, this week's news that the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology will likely stay in place is a welcome relief, say healthcare leaders.
According to the CCHIT study, 44 new provider incentive programs based only on CCHIT-certified products and totaling more than $700 million have sprung up around the country. The programs include federal, regional and state programs, as well as private payers, Leavitt said.
Since CCHIT began certifying two years ago, it has certified 150 EHR products, representing 50 percent of all EHR vendors and 75 percent of the EHR market.
"I think the accomplishments we've made have been underestimated," Leavitt said.
After the industry got over initial concerns that certification might mess up the market, people have begun to realize certification is adding value, Leavitt said. Many stakeholders now want certifications added to their sector, he said, and the CCHIT is having a hard time keeping up with the demand.
There is also reporting on the same matter here – with views of a number of stakeholders:
Posted: November 20, 2008 - 5:59 am EDT
In 2004, David Brailer, then the newly designated head of the newly created Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, said out loud and in public that the low level of physician adoption of electronic health-record systems was a serious national problem his office would address.
Adding pressure, in the executive order that created Brailer's position, President George W. Bush set a goal of making electronic health records available to most Americans in a decade. But if doctors didn't have EHRs, how could patients have electronic records?
Brailer concluded that one of the barriers to EHR adoption was a physician's fear of buying a bad system. He called for a private-sector organization to create the equivalent of an Underwriters Laboratories or Good Housekeeping seal of approval for EHRs.
That same year, three not-for-profit organizations, the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, American Health Information Management Association and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, founded and grubstaked the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology.
The following year, HHS put some money where Brailer's mouth was and awarded CCHIT a three-year, $7.5 million contract to fund a testing and certification program for healthcare IT systems.
The initial contract ran out Sept. 30, but the commission is not bereft. CCHIT reports that a recently awarded contract extension valued at $1.4 million will help keep the lights on through April 19, 2009. But then what?
Much more here:
The CCHIT is not an expensive entity (2-3 million per year) and the work it does in fostering gradual improvement of clinical systems I believe has worldwide value. I am aware the new President Obama has a few economic headaches but in the scheme of things this is one that should have a few million to keep going and improving over the next few years!