EHR Certification – Time to Kill it

After 14 months ONCHIT has still not been able to define the EHR certification process. It is time to kill it dead.

The original intent of certification, as I understand it, was to ensure that purchasers of EHRs would buy systems that met a certain level of capability (presumably meaningful use). Now ONCHIT is contradicting the original spirit of that concept by encouraging healthcare providers to proceed with their meaningful use projects on products without certification criteria. Providers are understandably reticent since they don’t want all of their efforts to go to waste if they cannot be assured that their products are certifiable.

It is possible, maybe even likely, that providers will achieve meaningful use with a combination of applications. So why should any one of them have to be certified as having the ability to meet all of the meaningful use criteria?

Certification is blocking EHR progress.  There is one rational solution: BANG.

What do you think? Do I have my facts right?

8 thoughts on “EHR Certification – Time to Kill it

  1. I couldn’t agree more about this post! Institutions need to develop “meaningful structure” in order to get to the “meaningful use” stage. This can be done but there’s a ton of work to accomplish before “meaningful use” can bring real value to everyone involved in the healthcare field. TPD!

  2. I agree completely. In fact, EHR certification should have never been put in. I once asked Marc Probst why we should have EHR certification around meaningful use guidelines. Seems redundant. His response was basically, “I lost that argument.” If you can show meaningful use of the software, then what’s the point in a certification saying that it meets meaningful use. Feels circular just typing it out.

    The more important question to ask is, Can ONCHIT kill EHR certification? “Certified EHR” is part of the legislation. I’m not exactly sure what requirements ONCHIT has to stick to the legislation or what would be involved in getting it changed. Unless they made a really simple process to certify EHR software which essentially makes EHR certification a non-issue.

  3. I agree that this has stretched on past the point of usefulness. However I think that it was a useful idea on paper, there are many useless products on the market today and we shouldn’t reward people for choosing a cheap but essentially pointless product.

    • So, instead of cheap and essentially pointless products (what doctors really buy this type of EMR product?) EHR certification encourages many doctors to buy overpriced and essentially unusable EHR products that can do EVERYTHING, but it just takes a PhD to figure out how to do it.

      EHR certification’s best value has been in giving EMR vendors the ability to sale more product. It’s provided little to no value to doctors.

      • John,
        CCHIT certification was misused by vendors and dare I say decision makers (not always physicians) in large institutions? Since making a decision was hard, people picked a certified product with best ratings. HIMSS presentation was always favored.
        They ignore what the end-user physicians recommended. As the old saying goes, you never get fired for buying IBM 🙂

        Most private practices were smarter, they realized EMR products (certified or not) were expensive and unusable. As a result they did not buy anything at all.

        I wish the larger institutions had pushed the vendors to do the right thing. Build a quality product that is easy to use. Instead everyone was focused on this certification, which thankfully is now gone.


        • Abhi,
          Sadly, I think that CCHIT will still be around for a while. There’s still a lot of misunderstanding about CCHIT that needs to be fixed.

          I agree that it was a “You never get fired for buying IBM.” Now it will be a you never get fired for buying “ARRA Certified.” Luckily, I believe that most EMR vendors will become ARRA certified. I just hope that most of them do it through the Drummond Group and not CCHIT.

  4. Certification should never have been about functionality. That can only stifle innovation and competition. Certification should be about interop and quality:
    1. Make sure a product does what it says it does and does so consistently and to a specified level of quality.
    2. Before, during and after it does it, it is able to communicate effectively with other systems that do other things. That is why IHE is in place (or at least getting there. Slowly)

    Then leave functionality, usability etc to the marketplace where it belongs.

  5. The whole ONCHIT started with good intentions. The idea was good. Give providers the money to buy a product that fits their needs and achieve certain national goals.
    ONCHIT started off well by not adopting CCHIT. That would have certainly killed any innovation.

    Finally, ONCHIT proposed criteria were at high level (most of them) for physicians to understand.

    Though I don’t like the idea of certification, it provides a certain level of guarantee. Since physicians are going to get paid, put some rules around qualification criteria, both around the product and the process. Essential to put requirements around the product because if data capture is not performed the right way, good reporting is going to be impossible.

    Agree with Martin, leave usability to the marketplace.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s