CCHIT launches certification for home-grown, modified EHRs

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is kicking off a long-promised but slightly delayed program to help hospitals with home-grown, modified or aging EMR/EHR systems meet federal standards for "meaningful use." The authorized EHR certification body also has a plan to help hospitals work through the new EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals, or EACH, program, InformationWeek reports.

CCHIT, one of three groups authorized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to certify EHRs for compliance with 2011-2012 meaningful use standards, will pilot EACH at New York University Langone Medical Center, Edward Hospital & Health Services in Naperville, Ill., and at CareGroup Healthcare System in Boston. The official launch of EACH is set for Jan. 10, when CCHIT makes the program orientation widely available, and testing will start the following week.

EACH is a three-phase program designed to maximize the chance applicants will pass final inspection. The first phase, called "Preparation" and costing $99, includes an online orientation and access to an online community of other hospitals in the program. "We take you through the requirements of certification and guide you as to whether you need to think about self certification," CCHIT Commissioner and EACH Product Manager Patricia Becker tells InformationWeek. "After that, you have capability of participating in online communities to exchange information. These communities will also be staffed by CCHIT to answer questions."

The second phase, "Readiness," is an online self-assessment, including a toolkit of test scripts and an interoperability guide. This part, priced at $3,500, also includes educational material for performing gap analyses to make sure hospitals are prepared for the final test. "We ask you to test each module at least twice so you are ready for inspection,' Becker explains.

Phase three is the actual inspection, which also takes place on the web. CCHIT charges $32,550 for complete EHR certification, and modular tests come with a base fee of $7,000 for testing against ONC security standards, plus fees for each module tested. The cost of Preparation and Readiness can be applied as a credit for the actual testing, and CCHIT offers some "scholarships" for critical-access hospitals. There is no charge for same-day retesting.

CCHIT promises to extend the modular program to ambulatory systems in the second quarter of 2011.

For greater details:
- read this InformationWeek story