CCHIT tackles certification criteria
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) has published for public review updated drafts of its certification criteria and the first draft of its test scripts for the 2009 certification year.

To continue to refine and improve the proposed criteria and test steps, CCHIT has opened a 31-day public comment period, closing January 21, 2009. The criteria are now available for review and comment.

The criteria and test scripts are for ambulatory, child health, cardiovascular medicine, inpatient and emergency department EHRs, as well as for standalone electronic prescribing systems and personal health records (PHRs). Except for e-prescribing criteria, which are in their first draft, all drafts have gone through a first round of public comment.

The commission will also accept applications, beginning Jan. 6, for the second phase of its modular approach to certification of health information exchanges (HIEs). This phase will test the ability to receive and send a lab result. The first certification phase began in October, testing criteria on HIE security.

Applications are still being taken for that phase. To be certified, an HIE must successfully complete the security test and one transaction test, though it can seek the recognition of being certified in more than one transaction. In April 2009, testing will begin on two additional transactions: a lab report document and a patient summary.

Based upon healthcare IT vendor requests and two years of certification testing experience, the commission has designed an educational program to help answer common questions about the certification criteria and the testing process. The seminar will be held January 27 - 29.
Until Dec. 31, the commission also is taking submissions from the healthcare industry to expand certification in 2010 to behavioral health and long-term care, and it is seeking input on additional areas in which to expand certification in 2011 and beyond.

Interested parties can download a form on CCHIT’s website to provide information on the benefits of expanding certification into a new area, the readiness of that area for certification, and an estimate of the effort required to develop certification in the area.