An EHR alternative certification program for hospitals that has been tested out in hospital pilots in Boston, New York City and Pasadena, Calif., is being rolled out nationwide this week by the Chicago-based Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT).
The EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals (EACH) is an ONC‑Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC‑ATCB) 2011/2012 certification program that is used for installed hospital EHR technology. The EACH program is based on required ONC criteria and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) test procedures and tools.
The EACH program includes a series of self‑paced, online learning programs designed to prepare program applicants for testing and certification. It also has an online inventory and self‑assessment tools to assist hospitals in evaluating how their installed EHR technology measures up to ONC's criteria and standards.
Alternative certification is not required if a hospital has adopted an EHR with complete certification--or a combination of certified EHR modules that meet all of the 2011/2012 certification criteria adopted by the Health and Human Services Secretary to support the meaningful use objectives established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to CCHIT.
CCHIT also has developed a similar program for physicians and ambulatory providers who have self‑developed EHR technology. That will be launched in the second quarter of this year, according to the organization.