Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Death of CCHIT? Not quite yet...

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) HIT policy committee met to discuss recommendations from its workgroups on how providers can qualify to receive incentives through the new stimulus package. The committee accepted its workgroup's matrix of qualifications that will define "meaningful use" of Health IT. I have posted the rough draft transcript and meeting material here .
The workgroup's recommendations will now be approved by ONC chief David Blumenthal, MD, and then sent to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to be applied for writing rules expected out for comment before year's end. "We are in the business of making recommendations, not rulemaking," Blumenthal said.
The recommendations of the Certification/Adoption workgroup could mean the end of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology's (CCHIT) monopoly on certifying electronic health records systems. But it is unlikely that the group will cease to be a certifying body. The group left open the possibility that existing systems certified under CCHIT criteria still deemed certified in 2011. That's when the ARRA Medicare/Medicaid incentives begin. There are strong lobbying efforts under way that want to ensure that investments made in certified technologies now will not be wasted under a new certification body. I imagine that there will be multiple certification bodies alongside CCHIT which will operate under standards set by the ONC.
There was great interest in this meeting and it was twittered extensively (see the Health Bird's Tweetstream for some very interesting commentary from all of the HIT Policy and Standard's Committee meetings so far).