Announcement to Help Speed Adoption of Electronic Health Records
Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - The first round of ambulatory electronic health record products (EHRs) have been certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced today. HHS awarded CCHIT a contract in fall 2005 to develop certification criteria and a certification process.
“This seal of certification removes a significant barrier to wide-spread adoption of electronic health records. It gives health care providers peace of mind to know they are purchasing a product that is functional, and interoperable and will bring higher quality, safer care to patients,” Secretary Leavitt said.
CCHIT certification indicates that EHR products meet base-line levels of functionality, interoperability and security in compliance with CCHIT’s published criteria. This impartial seal of approval paves the way for adoption of health IT products by limiting the risk associated with investing in health IT. CCHIT is continuing to evaluate products, and additional results will be announced at the end of the month and quarterly thereafter.
“Volunteers from across the health care spectrum developed CCHIT’s criteria and inspection process, ensuring fairness and balance between the interests of diverse stakeholders,” said Dr. Mark Leavitt, CCHIT Chair.
In September 2005, HHS awarded a $2.7 million contract to CCHIT, a private, non-profit organization, to develop an efficient, credible, and sustainable mechanism for certifying health care information technology products. The CCHIT will certify health IT products in three initial phases:
* First, outpatient or ambulatory EHRs;
* Second, inpatient, or hospital EHRs; and
* Third, architectures, or systems that enable the exchange of information between and among health care providers and institutions.
The announcement of the first round of vendors to earn certification for electronic health record products from the CCHIT came at the George Washington University’s Medical Faculty Associates, who adopted an EHR system last year. That system achieved certified status today.
“George Washington Medical Faculty Associates was an early adopter of the electronic health record system which has transformed our practice, enabling us to be proactive instead of reactive,” said George Washington University CEO Stephen Badger. “It has enhanced the overall patient care, significantly reduced our administrative costs and led to happier physicians and patients, because of this transformation.”
Additionally, Secretary Leavitt noted that HHS will soon publish rules creating Anti-Kickback statute safe harbors and Physician Self-Referral law exceptions. These changes will allow certain donations of health information technology that may not have been permitted before, allowing hospitals and other health care providers and suppliers to take a more active role in contributing to health IT adoption. The regulations will finalize proposals made by the Office of Inspector General and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Oct. 11, 2005.
To learn more about the CCHIT, and for a list of certified products, visit www.cchit.org.
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