By selecting certified EMR products, these health systems know that these applications will meet important guidelines for functionality, interoperability and security
Chicago (Vocus) January 21, 2009
According to data from the HIMSS Analytics Database, 85 percent of hospitals in the contracting phase of an IT acquisition have signed with a CCHIT Certified vendor since November 2007, when CCHIT released its first acute care or inpatient certified products.
HIMSS Analytics collects and analyzes this healthcare data from more than 5,000 American hospitals and 100 applications relating to IT processes and environments, products, information systems (IS) department composition, costs and management metrics, healthcare trends and purchasing decisions.
"By selecting certified EMR products, these health systems know that these applications will meet important guidelines for functionality, interoperability and security," said Carla Smith, CNM, FHIMSS, executive vice president for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. "With money for health IT included in the economic stimulus package, we look forward to seeing continued implementations of these certified systems."
Since 2004, CCHIT's certification program has helped mitigate confusing claims on the EMR products available in the marketplace making it easier to judge product suitability, quality, interoperability and data portability, and security. With acute care EMR certification introduced just over a year ago, many hospital systems had already implemented their technology systems.
With the introduction of CCHIT certification for inpatient or acute care EMR products, support for the certification process remains strong among health IT purchasers at healthcare organizations. Here are comments from CIOs who shared their perspective on the value of CCHIT certification.
"I fully support the certification commission and believe CCHIT Certified products are a great first step in ensuring health care information technology products eventually work together more seamlessly so we can share critical clinical data between different products. CCHIT can't do it alone and we need Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and standards to continue evolving. I would only consider selecting a new clinical system if it complied with CCHIT." - Laureen O'Brien, CIO, Providence Health & Services, Portland, Ore. 1,341 beds
"The CCHIT certification on a product is a help to purchasers of EMRs in at least three ways. First, there is predictability about the level of functionality and interoperability in the product. Second, it helps purchasers hold the vendors accountable for the quality of their software. If something in the system met the certification criteria, but is not working, the vendor has an incentive to get it fixed quickly. Third, it is helpful to know the certification requirements for future enhancements. When we know the timeframes for increased functionality that vendors must adhere to in order maintain certification, we can plan our implementations better." - Carole Cotter, CIO, Newport Hospital, Newport, RI, 148 beds
"We already had our physician office and hospital software before CCHIT, but we do find it important. For our physician offices, there are two real benefits. One, it helps us know that our software company is keeping up. And, two, it assures us that our arrangements with independent physicians for software sharing are covered by the expanded Stark exemptions. On the hospital side, CCHIT certification is getting there. After an early focus only on the closed medication loop, CCHIT certification is moving toward certification of a more comprehensive EMR for the acute setting. Especially for small and rural hospitals, that certification will give them confidence as they make a system selection, something that we had to do the hard way (from scratch, with outside help and over a year's period of time)." - Denni McColm, CIO, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, Bolivar, Mo., 74 beds
"At St. Clair Hospital, validating the CCHIT certification of all EMR-related products for use inside the hospital and in the ambulatory setting is a key part of our process. We need to be sure that our investment in the systems will truly pay dividends in achieving interoperability and compliance with regulatory initiatives. CCHIT certification gives us a sense of comfort in knowing the vendor shares our vision of adhering to standards so that the adoption of EMRs can advance as quickly, and safely, as possible. Most importantly, certification plays a vital role in ensuring healthcare moves forward as an industry through the use of systems and technology." - Richard J Schaeffer, Vice President/CIO, St. Clair Hospital, Pittsburgh, 329 beds
"Now that SSM Health Care has established a substantial EHR network, our focus has begun to shift toward interoperability with independent physician offices and hospitals outside our health system. Because of the standards established through CCHIT, our certified, enterprise system is now more capable of exchanging critical patient information with those hospitals or practices also using CCHIT Certified products. We can also now recommend CCHIT Certified products to independent physician practices with the confidence that those systems will offer a significant level of interoperability with our EHR network." - Tom Langston, CIO, SSM Health Care, St. Louis, Mo., 5,000 beds
Visit http://www.cchit.org for more information on the certification process and to comment on the CCHIT roadmap for expansion of health IT certification programs.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the healthcare industry's membership organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded in 1961 with offices in Chicago, Washington D.C., Brussels, Singapore, and other locations across the United States and the globe, HIMSS represents more than 20,000 individual members and over 350 corporate members that collectively represent organizations employing millions of people. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare public policy and industry practices through its advocacy, educational and professional development initiatives designed to promote information and management systems' contributions to ensuring quality patient care.
About HIMSS Analytics:
HIMSS Analytics is a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The company collects and analyzes healthcare information related to IT processes and environments, products, IS department composition and costs, IS department management metrics, healthcare trends and purchase-related decisions. HIMSS Analytics delivers high quality products, services and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, healthcare IT companies, state governments, financial companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms. Visit http://www.himssanalytics.org for more information.