“There is a lot of confusion among providers that is interfering with EHR adoption progress, so we are taking four steps to bring more clarity to the situation,” stated Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D. CCHIT’s chair, in a press release this morning. Specifically, the Commission is taking the following steps:
- Making the CCHIT Certified program fully independent from the Preliminary ARRA program;
- Reopening applications and testing under both programs on April 7;
- Updating its Web site to offer clarity about the objectives and status of both programs, especially regarding their relationship to the still-awaited government accreditation process; and
- Preparing for a prompt conversion of the Preliminary ARRA program into an ONC-accredited ARRA testing and certification program.
Starting April 7, the Commission will once more accept applications, continue its testing and issue two types of EHR certifications. A product may receive one or both of these certifications:
- CCHIT Certified — an independently developed certification that includes inspection of an EHR’s integrated functionality, interoperability and security. Products that are CCHIT Certified are tested against criteria developed by the Commission’s workgroups. “This program is intended to serve healthcare providers looking for maximal assurance that a product will meet their complex needs. As part of this independent evaluation, successful use is verified at live sites and product usability is rated.”
- Preliminary ARRA — a certification program that tests Complete EHRs or EHR Modules against the Meaningful Use Stage 1 certification criteria in the Interim Final Rule (IFR) issued by HHS/ONC in January. The Preliminary ARRA program is designed to demonstrate that a vendor’s product is “extremely well prepared to be certified” once ONC-accredited testing and certification becomes available (but the final criteria and test procedures are not yet available, nor has CCHIT been accredited yet by ONC). “When those events occur, CCHIT will replace the Preliminary ARRA program with a final, ONC-accredited ARRA certification program. Vendors with Preliminary ARRA certification can undergo retesting by CCHIT at no additional cost to receive a fully-accredited certification once it is available.”
Program materials, including revised program policies, applications, criteria, test scripts and other guidance will be available at http://www.cchit.org/get_certified beginning on April 7.