New CCHIT policy wins over critics

The early reviews seem to be positive for the recent decision by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology to give EMR developers three options for achieving certification.

As reported in FierceHealthIT this week, CCHIT is proposing three tracks for certifying electronic health records: EHR Comprehensive for full-blown systems, which is most similar to the existing certification process; EHR Module for vendors that produce specialized systems and components; and EHR Site, to recognize providers that either write their own software or assemble systems from multiple non-certified components. "We obviously need to change," CCHIT Chairman Dr. Mark Leavitt during a June 16 conference call, Government Health IT reports. "When you look at our work before [the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] and after, it's just dramatically different."

In addition to the stimulus, CCHIT may have been moved to change by numerous critics, notably open-source software developers. This new policy has won over one of the most vocal of the critics from the open-source camp, Houston-based programmer Fred Trotter, who publicly endorsed the plan this week. "Now that CCHIT understands how our community frames the EHR problem, they have done a good job creating a certification that can work for us," Trotter writes on his blog.

Dr. David Kibbe, senior HIT advisor to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the target of a pointed online attack by Leavitt last month, tells FierceEMR that he likes elements of the new policy as well.

For more on the CCHIT plan:
- check out the Government Health IT story
- see Trotter's endorsement pf the new CCHIT policy on his personal blog
- read Leavitt's critique of Kibbe on The Health Care Blog