EHR certification important, but needs clarification

August 13, 2010

Sixty-six percent of healthcare providers responding to a recent survey said that certification is a very important element in the process they use to evaluate ambulatory EHRs, but 52 percent erroneously thought that they must purchase an EHR certified by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology to receive stimulus funds to cover the purchase.

Sixty-six percent of healthcare providers responding to a recent survey said that certification is a very important element in the process they use to evaluate ambulatory EHRs, but 52 percent erroneously thought that they must purchase an EHR certified by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) to receive stimulus funds to cover the purchase.

The 2010 U.S. Ambulatory Electronic Health Records (EHR) Certification Study, conducted by healthcare technology research and advisory firm CapSite, had 850 respondents.

"The study provides clear evidence that there is considerable confusion in the market in terms of the certification requirements for ambulatory EHRs," says Brendan FitzGerald, research director for CapSite. "Although the Office of the National Coordinator has not designated authorized testing and certification bodies (ATCB) at this time, 69 percent of respondents were not aware there will be federally accredited alternatives to CCHIT for ambulatory EHR certification."

Also, 33 percent of study respondents reported being less concerned about which ATCB certifies their ambulatory EHR solution than they are about receiving stimulus funds.

"The recent release of the final rule on meaningful use of an EHR 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 says. "Our study indicates that providers would greatly benefit from additional education and guidance to fully understand certification expectations."