|The Health Record Review
by Patty Enrado
Posted on Tue, Nov 03, 2009 - 12:43 am
The Drummond Group's announcement that it will submit to become a certification body for electronic health records (EHRs) when the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) opens up the pool in early 2010 is good news for the industry.
No matter how you feel about the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) - whether you believe the vendor ties are a conflict of interest or believe they have been doing a fine job all along - expanding the number of certification bodies does two welcome things. It levels the playing field, enabling open source and other non-traditional software models to be more readily acceptable, and it spreads the power beyond one certification body.
Leveling the playing field will drive innovative EHR companies to develop new products for underserved specialists and clinical conditions. For example, psychiatrists don't have an EHR product that would provide meaningful use for them because vendors have built products that focus on physical conditions and few, if any, on mental health conditions, according to Hao Wang, deputy commissioner and CIO for the State of
Will expanding the number of certification bodies muddy the waters and make apple-to-apple comparisons impossible? Will one vendor who doesn't get certification from one group go to another one? Not if ONC releases clear, detailed policies on meaningful use of EHRs that covers the gamut of healthcare delivery and considers the needs of specialties, and the certification bodies enforce the policies through their certification processes.
Drummond Group has stepped up to the plate. Who's next? As long as whoever joins the pool of certification bodies has a good reputation in the industry, which I'm sure ONC will make certain, expansion is a good thing.