It was announced earlier this year that The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) will stop testing and certifying electronic health record (EHR) software. It will instead focus on advising healthcare providers and health IT developers on the government's requirements for certified EHR technology and how to comply with health IT regulations. This means that vendors seeking EHR and practice management meaningful use certification will now have to go through other testing bodies.
This affects EHR vendors more than it does eyecare providers, but we thought that it was interesting to share because it essentially means that fewer vendors are applying for certification and we wanted you to be sure to get a 2014 certified system if you are participating in the Meaningful Use program.
Why EHR and Practice Management Meaningful Use Certification is Important
CCHIT mentioned that fewer vendors are getting certified for ONC's 2014 edition than for the 2011 edition that accompanied Meaningful Use Stage 1. They estimate that so far, only 55% of the firms that applied for 2011 certification have applied for the 2014 Edition. They also expect a shakeout because not all of the smaller vendors can afford the research and development to reprogram their software.
So, what’s different about a Stage 2 certified system that requires a different kind of certification? Stage 2 includes new objectives to improve patient care through better clinical decision support, care coordination, and patient engagement. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) therefore had to revise standards that EHRs must use in order to successfully capture and calculate objectives for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. And the requirements are also more stringent, which may cause other vendors to opt for modular instead of complete certification.
If you started attesting for Stage 1 before 2014, you may continue using a 2011 certified system to complete attestation for Stage 1. But if you’re looking to purchase a system, or want to continue using your current system to participate in Stage 2, make sure it’s been certified for 2014!
Using a Stage 2 certified system not only allows you to attest for Meaningful Use this year, but allows your patients to experience better patient care and higher engagement with their health information, through the ability to view, download, and transmit their health information online; and exchange secure electronic messages with your practice.
Thinking of starting Meaningful Use this year? Uprise is Stage 2 certified! Check out our cloud-based practice management and EHR solution!