CCHIT certification updated to conform to new HHS rules

January 28, 2010

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is updating its electronic health record technology certification programs to conform to the interim final rule recently released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) is updating its electronic health record (EHR) technology certification programs to conform to the interim final rule recently released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The non-profit organization will begin accepting applications for certification under its updated programs February 12, the day the rule becomes effective.

The rule, entitled "Health Information Technology: Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology," was published in the January 13 Federal Register along with a notice describing the meaningful use objectives and incentive payment schedules for adoption of certified EHR systems.

"Our aim is to ensure that hospitals and doctors have enough time to purchase and implement certified EHRs and achieve meaningful use in time to qualify for HHS financial incentives in 2011 and 2012," Alisa Ray, CCHIT's executive director, said in a prepared statement. "With eligibility for hospitals opening in October 2010, there is an urgent need for certification programs to be in place."

Ray said the rule contained "no big surprises" for CCHIT, allowing the organization to quickly update its comprehensive and modular certification programs to conform to the rules. Vendors who already have been certified under the non-profit organization's former programs will be offered incremental testing at no fee to close any gaps in certification, she added. A gap analysis to assist in that effort has been posted at http://www.cchit.org/get_certified. The group plans to post updated criteria and scripts for all other EHR vendors soon.