Monday, June 14, 2010

CCHIT - Ad Infinitum...

This one doesn’t ever go away, does it? Over at Software Advice, Chris Thorman is trying to evaluate the future of what seems to be the most controversial entity in the EHR business. Will CCHIT thrive or will it fade away into a background of various certification bodies sprouted by ONC’s certification program?

Basically, CCHIT’s expertise and readiness, which far surpasses the yet unknown contenders, should work to its advantage. On the other hand the sheer existence of competition and the simplifications introduced by ONC, coupled with the rising influence of Regional Extension Centers may eventually push CCHIT and its extensive certification programs into irrelevancy.

Personally, I doubt very much that the RECs will be bold enough to select preferred vendors that have not certified in the past and are not willing to commit to certifying in the very near future, but that remains to be seen. Another factor that is frequently overlooked is the financial prospects of any certifying body. The EHR market is rather small, or at least too small to support a wealth of certifying entities, if they are to maintain a pricing level at or below CCHIT. Anything priced higher than the CCHIT minimal ARRA certification will find no buyers.

And then there is the 800 lb Gorilla in the room. If the FDA decides to exercise proper oversight over EHR products as they do with PACS, lab software, blood banks, etc., the entire certification landscape will be turned on its head.
We do live in interesting HIT times…..

Chris Thorman wants to know what you think about CCHIT’s future. He has a nice little survey and you can see the results there too. So voice your opinion here.


  1. Weird, off-the-wall question: which is worse in the room, an 800lb Gorilla or a 5,000-14,000lb elephant?

    Regardless, this organization is one everyone loves to hate. I thought Chris's analysis was fairly even-handed. CCHIT really is the only one out there with any experience in testing and rating EHRs. You don't have to like what the way they've done it to acknowledge the fact. It's a bit premature for CCHIT's critics to start singing "Ding dong the witch is dead." For one thing, I see nothing to stop CCHIT doing what it's always done (they're certainly adapting quickly with their ARRA-readiness certification).

    Then there's the whole "devil you know" paradigm. I personally like the approach Drummond Group has taken on their blog, but the truth is that we just don't know much about them at this point. To use a political analogy, trying to pin down how DG will certify EHRs is like trying to analyze a supreme court nominee who's never served as a judge. It's not necessarily wrong, and may in fact be beneficial, but it is difficult to predict.

  2. ... and no final rulings on either MU or certification.
    Summer starts in less than a week... :-)

    In any case CCHIT has been changed forever. Whatever it used to be before HITECH, it will morph into something different now.