Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Should CCHIT Influence Your EHR Decision

Software Advice for Electronic Medical RecordsBy: Don Fornes
(415) 449-0532

CCHIT promotes that through their certification process, the organization “sets the bar for EHR products.” We agree. However, we question if that bar has been set too high relative to most ambulatory care organizations’ current requirements and IT capabilities. Even if a majority of EHR vendors achieve certification, will physicians follow suite by adopting the functionality specified in the CCHIT criteria?As we review the list of CCHIT Certified EHRs, we recognize many great software products.

We see great benefit to the features specified by CCHIT. However, we can’t help but wonder how long it will take for the traditionally “late adopter” physician market to accept and implement the requirements specified by CCHIT’s technologically savvy Commission.
So, in the interest of serving our provider audience, here are five key takeaways for use in determining CCHIT’s role in your EHR selection:

Review the CCHIT criteria yourself and determine the relevance of each to your ideal workflow. The criteria are well defined, so even if you do not need every capability, you could select a subset for use in evaluating EHRs for your practice.

Understand the binary nature of CCHIT certification. If an EHR does not fully address each of the CCHIT requirements, it will not be certified. Therefore recognize that there are many good EHRs that may not achieve certification, but may still meet your requirements. Consider the requirements of your specialty. If you need EHR capabilities specific to your segment of medicine, realize that CCHIT does not yet cover specialties. You have to evaluate specialty requirements on your own.

Do your homework on other critical evaluation criteria that fall outside CCHIT, including: ease-of-use, customer satisfaction and vendor viability. CCHIT is very clear that these due diligence items are the buyer’s responsibility.

Understand the biases of both CCHIT proponents and detractors. It is natural for these industry players to have strong opinions, just be sure to put them in context, do your own research, and understand that the ultimate decision is yours.

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