Certified EHR Systems Might Lack Interoperability

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    Certified EHR Systems Might Lack Interoperability

    October 31, 2006


    Electronic health record systems certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare IT are not necessarily interoperable, according to CCHIT Chair Mark Leavitt, Modern Healthcare reports (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 10/30).

    HHS last week designated CCHIT as the first recognized certification body. CCHIT is tasked with helping to accelerate health IT adoption by ensuring products' functionality, interoperability and security (iHealthBeat, 10/27).

    Leavitt said that current interoperability criteria are weak. The only interoperability requirement necessary to receive certification in 2006 is the ability to electronically receive laboratory test results, Modern Healthcare reports.

    In May 2007, certified EHR systems will be required to be able to transmit prescriptions electronically. Certified systems also will have to be able to transfer medical record summaries electronically in 2007, Leavitt said. He added that designating CCHIT as a recognized certification body will promote more interoperability because it allows more hospitals, health systems and health plans to donate EHR hardware and software to their affiliated physicians (Modern Healthcare, 10/30).

    HHS rules on anti-kickback safe harbors and the Stark law require EHR software to be approved by a recognized certification body a year prior to being donated to a health care provider (iHealthBeat, 10/27).

    The 12-month requirement "guarantees that vendors will keep upgrading" the interoperability of their products, Leavitt said. "Using normal market mechanisms, we'll be able to carry everyone along to take interoperability to the level we eventually want to get to," he added (Modern Healthcare, 10/30).
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