EHR Market Maturing

One signal that an industry is maturing – in a good way – is when its participants work together to develop standards that enable interoperability. In the case of Health IT, the federal government has promoted industry maturity. HHS has designated six organizations as Office of the National Coordinator Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCB).  The designation authorizes them to test and certify electronic health records (EHR) software solutions. The six ONC-ATCB testers include:CCHIT certified

  • Surescripts LLC
  • ICSA Labs
  • SLI Global Solutions
  • InfoGard Laboratories, Inc.
  • Certification Commission for Health Information Technology
  • Drummond Group, Inc.

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) was formed in 2004 by  industry members across the HIT spectrum to develop product certifications. CCHIT, a non-profit, certified its first EHRs in 2011. The number of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products certified is already rapidly approaching 100. CCHIT offers certifications in each of the following EHR categories:

  • Ambulatory EHR
  • Inpatient EHR
  • Emergency Department EHR
  • Behavioral Health EHR
  • Long Term and Post Acute EHR

It also offers a certification for ePrescription products. Certified products meet all CCHIT requirements in their respective categories. For the Ambulatory EHR category, a 39 page document posted at lists all the requirements a product must satisfy. According to CCHIT, the requirements were developed by “broadly representative, expert work groups”. At least one test case is associated with each requirement. The script of all test cases is also available on the CCHIT website.

The certifications are gaining acceptance across the industry and the federal government. A solicitation from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) for an EHR system to manage detainee health records requires a product certified by an ONC-ATCB.  One of the key requirements of the ICE solution is interoperability with other ICE systems including those that exist today and those of the future.