Surescripts will certify on new NCPDP standard; few expect competition to CCHIT

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology made news last week when it began two of its three planned certification programs for 2011, with an eye toward helping EHR customers achieve "meaningful use" of health IT and qualify for federal stimulus funding. There's plenty of other certification news this week not directly related to CCHIT.

This morning, e-prescribing service network Surescripts said it would be ready to certify e-prescribing software as compliant with the standard known as NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 if CMS follows through on expectations to adopt that standard for electronic prescriptions on May 1, 2010. The federal Health IT Policy Committee has recommended that CMS include NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6, developed by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, as part of the requirements for meaningful use of EHRs.

Earlier this week, at the Medical Group Management Association's annual conference in Denver, vendors expressed skepticism that another certifying body would enter the market before the stimulus program begins in 2011. "We're anticipating not much competition," said Scott Decker, executive VP of NextGen Healthcare Information Systems. Decker said it would take too long and too much money to start up a competing program to CCHIT's, even though the HIT Policy Committee has recommended opening up certification.

Meanwhile, Mark Phillips, director of product management for Sage Software practice management systems, said that it would probably take the comprehensive CCHIT certification, rather than the less-stringent CCHIT ARRA version, for an EHR to qualify for a Stark donation. Under this exemption to the Stark physician self-referral laws, hospitals may help affiliated physician practices with up to 85 percent of the cost of acquiring and installing EHR software.

For more on the e-prescribing certification announcement:
- read this Surescripts press release (.pdf)

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