As the long and winding river that is EHR certification rolls along, CCHIT recently opened up its latest iteration of testing to the public. The two new offerings are "CCHIT 2011 Comprehensive" Certification and, in line with what is known today about "meaningful use," Preliminary ARRA 2011 Certification.
Here are a few excerpts from an interview between HCI Editor-in-Chief Anthony Guerra and CCHIT Chair Mark Leavitt:
On New EMR Software Certification Programs:
"On Oct. 7, we opened all of our 2011 certification programs - now we have two that we're launching. One is called the CCHIT Certified 2011, and we've referred to that as the Comprehensive Program, and the other is called the Preliminary ARRA 2011 Certification. And people may choose to refer to that as a modular program, but it's really just a certification that's offered in a modular way. We used to talk about a site certification as being a third pathway, but what had become clear to us is that the site certification is an option for either of those. So site certification is just one option under the Preliminary ARRA 2011 program, and it's also available under the CCHIT Comprehensive. You can think of it as two paths to certification and, in each case, it could be a vendor product or a site that comes to be certified."
"The goal of the CCHIT Comprehensive Program is maximum assurance. So we're basically trying to deliver to providers additional help in selecting an EHR. In the case of the Preliminary ARRA 2011 program, the main goal is flexibility. We're trying to create a program that presents the lowest possible barriers to developers, to vendors, to providers who have followed any of a variety of pathways to develop products or to assemble products, and not create a barrier for them receiving the ARRA incentive, if those products meet the federal standards."
On Incremental Testing:
"We don't know if it will be necessary or not. In fact, if we thought there would be a lot of new standards still emerging, we might have decided not to launch the preliminary certification now. So we feel pretty good that the standards and criteria won't be more rigorous than what have been published. We're just offering the incremental testing as a contingency if there is a new standard that comes out or there's a change.
The reason we would give priority to those who have already moved forward is that's just good customer service. If you offer a service or a product and you find a new standard has emerged and the product is no longer compliant with the new standards, you need to correct that before you start selling new products to other people. That's just the basic picture of this. And what's more, that test should be very simple. We don't expect large amounts of new materials to be covered. So we can do those tests very quickly, very simply, and we'll get those done right away when the final rules and the final meaningful use matrix is available."
Source: Healthcare Informatics