CCHIT expands, seeks comments on HIE certification

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The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) has updated a roadmap for expansion of its healthcare IT certification activities, including its health information exchange (HIE) efforts.

The nine new programs for launch in 2010 and beyond will extend certification to new specialties, settings and populations, while also opening the door to labeling that recognizes advanced capabilities in EHRs as users become ready to adopt them, according to Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD, chair of CCHIT.

"With about $20 billion in funding and incentives for EHRs, HIE and associated technologies -- based on certification as a key qualification -- we must be very flexible and responsive as federal health[care] IT initiatives emerge and grow," Leavitt said.

The board of commissioners voted to begin development of four programs--clinical research, dermatology, advanced interoperability and advanced quality--for launch in 2010; these programs are in addition to two areas previously scheduled for a 2010 launch: behavioral health and long-term care. Four other certification programs were identified for launch in 2011: eye care, oncology, advanced security and advanced clinical decision support.

The final expansion roadmap and public comments are available at www.cchit.org/expansion.

Two public comment periods begin today for elements of the HIE certification program, which is being introduced in phases during 2009.

The public can comment on final test scripts for two transactions, a lab report document and a patient summary, through March 6. In addition, public comment will be taken through March 24 on a set of roadmap criteria for HIE certification in 2010 and beyond. Materials will be posted at http://www.cchit.org/certify/hie/index.asp.

Also, the commission's public comment period on sercurity criteria and test scripts proposed for its certification program covering stand-alone e-prescribing systems runs through March 4. Draft material is posted for comment at http://www.cchit.org/participate/public-comment/index.asp.