Vendor association proposes changes to EHR certification

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The HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA), a 34 member collection from an assortment of leading electronic health record (EHR) vendors, last week submitted a response to the Certification Commission on Health Information Technology (CCHIT) regarding its EHR certification-related Phase Two work products proposal. The response comes after the commission made its second call for public comments in relation to its work, with the first being earlier in the year.
   
EHRVA, a part of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), in their response is seeking more details and consistency in reaction to the EHR functionality requires thus far proposed by the council.
   
Regarding interoperability, the associated says in the letter that "we continue to support the idea of standard RHIO-like infrastructure to facilitate communication among disparate systems..."
   
EHRVA also notes that there are inconsistencies with the data entry and elimination criteria suggested for a number of similar functions. The associated wrote, "For example, for data such as problem lists, medication lists and patient history, we would expect that all three would include similarly defined criteria regarding the ability to add and delete entries and to record audit trail information."
   
The association also emphasized that it feels it is essential for consistency between the commission's workgroups regarding certification requirements, citing the Functionality and Interoperability workgroups as examples with different rules for the electronic submission of prescriptions.

Regarding security and reliability, the vendor group looked at the future of user authentication and asked the commission to consider new technologies in future versions of its roadmap. "As authentication capabilities expand beyond traditional password methods to include capabilities such as biometric authentication, EHRVA would like feedback from the CCHIT as to when it might be expected that these capabilities will appear on the HER certification roadmap," according to the letter.

Finally, the group also asked that the CCHIT workgroups be consistent with terminology. "While the terms 'EMR' and 'EHR' are used interchangeably, and there is little confusion about meaning, we recommend that the CCHIT workgroups use 'EHR' consistently and differentiate ambulatory EHRs from acute care EHRs where the distinction is necessary.

The CCHIT is an industry-sponsored body created to develop programs for certifying health care information systems. Pilot programs for the certification are tentatively planned by year's end.