EHR – Does certification matter?

As part of the healthcare industry, the providers, health IT consultants and other healthcare bodies are well aware of the CMS funded financial incentives for complying with Meaningful Use requirements in regards to Electronic Health Records (EHRs). More importantly, they are also familiar with the need for EHR certification that would serve as a helping hand in achieving the aforementioned target. So, at the end of the day, it is the Meaningful Use of certified EHRs that would help physicians get their hands on the incentive funds.

Today, with millions of physicians in the U.S, not every physician is comprehensively acquainted with the concept of EHR certification. Many believe that a certified EHR is the one that comes with the seal of Certification Commission of Health and Information Technology (CCHIT). However, it is not the CCHIT’s approval seal that meets the certification criterion for incentive funds. It is the set of minimum standards and that needs to be complied with.  This set includes the review of various functions and parameters like storing patient demographics, security parameters, integration, computerized order entry, information exchange and specialties, etc.

“The biggest dilemma amongst physicians, today, is the failure to understand the concept of Certified EHRs. Be it any industry, certification of a certain product comes by meeting the minimum requirements set by controlling authorities”, says an Ohio based Health IT Consultant.

Considering the financial incentives and benefits that EHRs have brought to the providers, it should not be difficult to think of EHRs as a long term investment. Therefore, before choosing an EHR, it is essential for physicians to make sure that they get their hands on the right product and the right vendor. With more than 700 EHR vendors, almost everyone claims to provide a certified solution. However, it is only until the solution is implemented that the physician is exposed to the realities.

“I can recall several so called “certified EHRs” which have caused disappointments amongst physicians. It is not always a one sided game, where vendors need to be careful while marketing their products. Physicians shouldn’t be negligent either while purchasing the product”, says a Nebraska based Health IT consultant.

Since physicians are the sole beneficiary of CMS incentives, it is their responsibility to make sure that the EHR being implemented is not only certified but also being used meaningfully.

 

About Frank Quinn

Over the past twenty years, Frank Quinn has contributed significantly on standardizing, interconnecting and institutionalizing care delivery through health IT, helping eliminate barriers to accessibility, quality and adoption. EMR, practice management, eRx, patient portal, medical billing, compliance, privacy and security are his areas of expertise. For more information, please contact Frank at frank.quinn@curemd.com
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