The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology has had its fair share of critics. Some have been the kind of anonymous Internet ranters with either a personal axe to grind or perhaps a screw loose, but many have been both respectful and professional in airing their grievances.
Solidly in the latter camp is Dr. David Kibbe, senior advisor to the American Academy of Family Physicians' Center for Health IT. Kibbe long has said the CCHIT certification process discourages innovation by being too complicated and costly for new, small companies that otherwise might shake up the EHR market with lower-priced, easier-to-use products. He also has held that the certification body was too closely tied to the health IT establishment. "CCHIT in effect acted as judge and jury for its own industry's definition of EHR software, inhibiting alternative approaches that would embrace component or modular architectures, web-based delivery also known as 'software-as-a-service,' and practical means of achieving interoperable data exchange between applications from different vendors," he says in a recent blog post.
But Kibbe is heartened by a companion piece to the proposed rule for "meaningful use" of EHRs, namely the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's interim final rule on standards and certification of health IT products. Kibbe says that the plan for HHS to certify the certifiers effectively renders CCHIT's process irrelevant and pushes the EHR market "in a direction away from the legacy monolithic, single-vendor, one-size-fits-all model."
Says Kibbe, "Developers and software engineers crave this kind of freedom of creative expression, and entrepreneurs understand that new business models for health IT will be available only if developers have the data in easily accessible standardized format for their work."
- read Kibbe's post at The Health Care Blog