Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Major Success for the CCHIT

This week the Certification Commission for Health IT (CCHIT) announced it had approved 18 providers of ambulatory EHR systems as being fit for purpose, and suited to play their role to develop a functionally rich and interoperable EHR environment in the United States.

Since the CCHIT was only established in late 2004 this is indeed an impressive achievement – made even more so by the fact that it was founded with seed funding from three leading industry associations in healthcare information management and technology – the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (Alliance).

Only after establishing a track record did the US Federal Department of Health and Human Services (via ONCHIT) grant $7.5M (over three years) to assist in and accelerate the work.

In less than two years certification standards for ambulatory EHRs have been developed and systems have been evaluated against quite robust test scripts. Additionally work is now well advanced in the development of certification requirements for Hospital Information Systems and work has also begun to consider Health Network Infrastructure Certification.

Given that each vendor was charged only $28,000 for the evaluation, it seems clear that the total cost, to get to this present point, of 18 certified commercially available EHRs, has been well under $US5.0M.

This successful outcome shows two things. Firstly it is possible to certify, in less than two years, the quality of ambulatory EHR systems (what we would call office practice systems or GP systems) to what, on my reading, seem to be quite advanced specifications. It is simply not too hard to do despite the claims of many to the contrary.

Secondly it can be done for a sum that is quite modest. Even if the Australian industry could not afford the certification fees – the process could be funded by Government and the same outcomes reached.

One has to ask why this is not happening in parallel with the longer term initiatives being sponsored and funded by NEHTA. There is a clear need, it is doable and affordable and it would make a significant difference.

Let’s just get on with it.


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