Home  |   Subscribe  |   Resources  |   Reprints  |   Writers' Guidelines
CCHIT Reopens Certification Applications, Testing April 7

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) announced at a recent Town Call teleconference that it will adjust its certification programs for EHR and reopen applications and testing on April 7.  With this relaunch, the organization will complete a separation of its CCHIT Certified program, offered since 2006 and updated annually, from its Preliminary ARRA program, launched in October 2009 in anticipation of the need for a modular testing and certification service that would become accredited by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).

“It was helpful to have the Notice of Proposed Rule Making on Certification released earlier this month, but a lot more is needed before government-accredited EHR certification can take place: finalization of meaningful use requirements, standards, certification criteria, testing procedures, and, of course, the accreditation of testing and certifying bodies,” says Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD, CCHIT’s chair.  “In the meantime, there is a lot of confusion among providers that is interfering with EHR adoption progress, so we are taking four steps to bring more clarity to the situation.”

The CCHIT is taking the following steps:  

• Making the CCHIT Certified program fully independent from the Preliminary ARRA program;

• Reopening applications and testing under both programs on April 7;

• Updating their Web site to offer clarity about the objectives and status of both programs, especially regarding their relationship to the still-awaited government accreditation process; and

• Preparing for a prompt conversion of the Preliminary ARRA program into an ONC-accredited ARRA testing and certification program.

Starting April 7, the CCHIT will once more accept applications, continue its testing, and issue two types of EHR certifications.  A product may receive one or both of these certifications:

• CCHIT Certified, an independently developed certification that includes a rigorous inspection of an EHR’s integrated functionality, interoperability, and security. Products that are CCHIT Certified are tested against criteria developed by the commission’s broadly representative, expert work groups. This program is intended to serve healthcare providers looking for maximal assurance that a product will meet their complex needs.  As part of this independent evaluation, successful use is verified at live sites and product usability is rated.  

• Preliminary ARRA, a certification program that tests Complete EHRs or EHR Modules against the Meaningful Use Stage 1 certification criteria in the Interim Final Rule issued by HHS/ONC in January. The Preliminary ARRA program is designed to demonstrate that a vendor’s product is extremely well prepared to be certified once ONC-accredited testing and certification becomes available, but the final criteria and test procedures are not yet availabl, nor has CCHIT been accredited yet by ONC. When those events occur, the CCHIT will replace the Preliminary ARRA program with a final, ONC-accredited ARRA certification program. Vendors with Preliminary ARRA certification can undergo retesting by CCHIT at no additional cost to receive a fully accredited certification once it is available.

Source: Certification Commission for Health Information Technology