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The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT®) is a non-profit organization whose stated mission is "accelerating the adoption of health IT." Until January 29, 2014, CCHIT was best known for certifying electronic health record (EHR) or electronic medical record (EMR) software programs. They were one of the top certification bodies for EMR software; a CCHIT certification guarantees a system with a high degree of functionality that meets robust security requirements.
On January 29, 2014, CCHIT announced a new strategic direction: They will no longer be certifying EMR and EHR software. They have stopped accepting applications for certifications and will complete pending certifications by May 2014. However, it's important to note that past certifications will be honored. Vendors and products that have previously received CCHIT accreditation will still be considered "certified." That means there are still a number of CCHIT-certified systems for EMR buyers to evaluate.
In light of the HITECH Act of 2009 (discussed in more detail below), finding CCHIT certified electronic health records has become a priority for most medical practices currently buying an EMR. But with approximately 100 certified electronic medical records programs and 250 total certifications, this search can be confusing. This buyer’s guide is designed to clarify the process and make the search a little bit easier.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What is CCHIT? CCHIT electronic medical records certification is based on over 400 criteria spanning EMR functionality, interoperability and security. Specific criteria categories include:
|Patient record||Create unique records with unique identifiers, demographic information, and provider information, and have those records be compatible with those of other systems.|
|Diagnosis Data||Accurately and discretely capture, manage, and access patient complaint information.|
|Medications||Accurately and discretely track medication usage and history and suggest, prescribe, and administer medications, taking into account patient complaints, allergies, and drug interactions for potential adverse reactions.|
|Document Management||Make and modify notes, capture vital signs, manage authorizations and advance directives, and integrate images and documents from external sources as necessary.|
|Patient Education||Generate and record patient instructions based on condition, severity, and/or patient history, and modify that information or customize it to the patient.|
|Testing||Integration with diagnostic tests and lab results, including ordering, receiving, tracking, graphical ability, and compatibility with external sources.|
|Disease Management||Tracking the patient condition for preventive care, providing automatic alerts based on standard and customizable warning criteria.|
|Administration||Includes clinical task assignment, inter-provider communication, scheduling, report generation.|
|Concurrent Use||Allows multiple providers to simultaneously use the same or different settings.|
|Security||Provides HIPAA compliance, including authentication and selective access control within the office environment.|
CCHIT electronic health record certification criteria vary depending on the facility: there are separate EMR certification criteria for different types of buyers. Here is a brief description of the different certifications and how they vary:
There are also separate certifications for EMR software for long term and post acute care centers and for ePrescribing EMRs.
Below are some of the major players among CCHIT-certified EMRs.
|This type of buyer...||Should evaluate these systems|
|Ambulatory care providers||eClinicalWorks, Allscripts, Greenway, Aprima|
|Inpatient facilities||Epic, NextGen|
|Emergency departments||Allscripts, Epic|
|Behavioral health specialists||Netsmart, NextGen|
CCHIT became especially relevant in light of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which includes $19 billion in stimulus money to incentivize medical offices to adopt electronic health records. In order to receive the money, the EHR must be certified Office of the National Coordinator – Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB). Until January 2014, CCHIT was one of six ONC-ATCB certifying bodies, meeting the federal requirements to perform EHR certification. Consult our ONC-ATCB Certified EMRs page for an up-to-date list of these systems.
Here are a few news items from the CCHIT that you should know about.
The obvious benefits for purchasing a CCHIT certified EMR are access to HITECH Act stimulus patients and the assurance that you’ll be getting a high quality EMR system that meets all functionality, interoperability, and security needs. It’s important to understand, however, that a single CCHIT certified EMR may not make a provider eligible for HITECH Act incentive payments. A product may be certified by CCHIT for ePrescribing, but not for inpatient care, in which case it would not qualify the facility for stimulus funds. Therefore, it’s important to ensure, even if they are CCHIT certified, that the purchase will qualify you for stimulus payments. It's also important to understand that the cost of certified EHR software may be higher than other, non certified products. The costs aren't arbitrary, however. They support the development of the features and functionality necessary for meeting certification requirements.