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CCHIT Program To Help Hospitals Pass EHR Certification

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology certification program targets hospitals with legacy, customized or self-developed Electronic Health Record systems.

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) is launching a new EHR certification program for hospitals that have uncertified legacy software, customized commercial products or self-developed EHR systems. "The EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals," or EACH program, is an ONC-ATCB 2011/2012 certification for installed hospital EHR technology.

The program contains three phases, all of which are designed to give applicants the greatest possible chance of passing the actual test, according to CCHIT. In fact, applicants are only allowed to undergo the final inspection if they have gone through the first two phases of the program.

In the first phase, called "Preparation," applicants attend an online program orientation, are introduced to the EACH online community of hospitals, and form the team that will help carry out their self assessment.

"We take you through the requirements of certification and guide you as to whether you need to think about self certification," said Patricia Becker, EACH product manager and CCHIT Commissioner. "After that, you have capability of participating in online communities to exchange information. These communities will also be staffed by CCHIT to answer questions."

In the second phase, "Readiness," the online self-assessment is carried out. In that phase, the applicant is provided with a "learning program" to help them perform a gap analysis. This phase also offers a toolkit that includes test scripts and an interoperability guide. The Readiness phase helps ensure that "when you come for certification, you are well prepared to pass the actual test," said Becker. In fact, "We ask you to test each module at least twice so you are ready for inspection."

The third phase of the program is when the actual inspection takes place, which is web-based. Applicants are tested against ONC criteria using NIST-established procedures. Same-day retests are also offered. If an applicant passes, the results are reported to ONC to be listed on the CHPL website, along with being posted on CCHIT's site.

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