Many U.S. hospitals have spent years developing and maintaining custom electronic health record (EHR) systems. For those facilities, the prospect of receiving HITECH Act incentive payments, which requires the use of certified EHR software, seemed grim.
Now there is hope. The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) plans to launch a custom EHR certification program in December specifically for hospitals with home-grown EHR software. It will discuss the details of the custom program during a Dec. 1 webcast.
Along with certifying software, the program, which CCHIT is calling the EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals (EACH), will provide such resources as online tutorials to prepare hospitals for testing and certification, and an assessment tool to let applicants see how their software measures up to the criteria for meaningful use and EHR standards.
CCHIT, of course, is no stranger to EHR certification, but so far, it — along with other Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies approved by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology — has focused specifically on EHR vendors. The EACH program thus should provide some comfort to hospitals faced with the daunting, if not unnecessary, prospect of having to scrap tried-and-true EHR software for no other reason than to meet meaningful use requirements.