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HIT Certification Committee Still In Play

Critics have complained that the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is too closely aligned with large EMR vendors.
In documents distributed at its Aug. 14 meeting, the HIT Policy Committee said that moving forward, the proposed definition of HHS Certification "means that the system is able to able to achieve the minimum government requirements for the security, privacy and interoperability, and that the system is able to produce the 'meaningful use' results the government expects."

The HIT Policy Committee added that "HHS Certification is not intended to be viewed as a 'seal of approval' or an indication of the benefits of one system over another." Other recommendation by the HIT Policy Committee:

  • The National Coordinator should determine the criteria for HHS Certification, which should be limited to the minimum set of criteria that are necessary to: (a) meet the functional requirements of the statute, and (b) achieve the Meaningful Use Objectives.
  • The focus on Meaningful Use should reduce the barriers currently faced by vendors that focus on specialists.
  • Criteria on functions/features should be high level; however, criteria on interoperability should be more explicit.
  • These criteria should be updated as the definition of meaningful use evolves.
  • Workgroup encourages the industry to continue to provide advisory services that can rate other aspects of EHRs that are important to purchasers, such as non-meaningful use features and functions and vendor viability and support capabilities.
  • The Office of National Coordinator is encouraged to explore critical aspects of e-health records for which certification criteria may not exist today-- for example, usability and improved models for system and data architecture.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).