The Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) has come a long way since its inception in 2004.  It is evident by the Obama Administration and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that $20 billion will be invested towards electronic health records, specifically ones that are ‘certified.’  When one hears of a ‘certified EHR,’ one assumes that it means a CCHIT Certified® EHR System.   Is this a fair assumption? Why should physicians only benefit if the purchased EHR is CCHIT Certified® ?  I believe that there are several ambiguities within the Act that need clarification before physicians misconstrue statements within the Act.

To begin with, CCHIT is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to ‘accelerate the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology by creating a credible efficient certification process.’  Although it is a non-profit organization, there’s a hefty price tag for EHR Companies to become certified.  Several of the smaller companies do not have the capital investment to even apply for the certification.  This will result in several smaller companies losing their status and more frequently declaring bankruptcy.   

In addition, several companies will not be able to become certified because they may not meet all of the 250 criteria.  So what about Mental and Behavioral Health Electronic Medical Records?  There are specialty specific EHR Companies that have a solid reputation, however, may soon be frowned upon because of the lack of the CCHIT certification.  So, how does this work then?

Specialty specific physicians will want to purchase a system that focuses primarily on their specialty, with all of the features that they may need.  Does this mean that these physicians who decide to not purchase a ‘certified EHR’ will not be reimbursed?

Why should people within the medical community suffer financially because they want to implement the most appropriate EHR for them?  I believe that this will be a growing concern within the healthcare industry that needs to be addressed immediately.

Thoughts anyone?