The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has made it clear that it wants multiple EHR certification bodies, but that message apparently has not made it out to many physician practices. According to a survey by Burlington, Vt.-based consulting firm CapSite, 69 percent of healthcare providers are unaware that there will be alternatives to the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology in terms of certifying ambulatory EHR systems.
Additionally, 52 percent of the 850 providers surveyed incorrectly believe that CCHIT certification is a prerequisite to receiving Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments for meaningful use of EHRs. In reality, ONC will designate authorized testing and certification bodies, which then will test and certify EHRs on behalf of vendors. CCHIT says it submitted its application on Tuesday to gain ONC authorization. At least one other entity, the Austin, Texas-based Drummond Group, has indicated a desire to certify EHRs.
"The study provides clear evidence that there is considerable confusion in the market in terms of the certification requirements for ambulatory EHRs," CapSite Research Director Brendan FitzGerald says, according to Healthcare IT News.
"The recent release of the final rule on meaningful use of an electronic health record by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department represents an important step in addressing the market confusion related to certification requirements for ambulatory EHRs," FitzGerald adds. "Our study indicates that providers would greatly benefit from additional education and guidance to fully understand certification expectations."
Though 66 percent of those surveyed said certification was a very important part of their evaluations of ambulatory EHR systems, 33 percent are less concerned about who certifies the product their purchase than they are about receiving stimulus money.