HHS Kicks Off EHR Certification

The Health and Human Services Department announced on Monday that it selected the first two organizations that will review whether electronic health record system meet the standards and certification criteria the federal government has set.

The Health and Human Services Department announced on Monday that it selected the first two organizations that will review whether electronic health record system meet the standards and certification criteria the federal government has set.

HHS selected the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) in Chicago and the Drummond Group Inc. in Austin, Texas.

"Announcement of these [certification bodies] means that EHR vendors can now begin to have their products certified as meeting criteria to support meaningful use, a key step in the national initiative to encourage adoption and effective use of EHRs by America's health care providers," a HHS press release issued late Monday afternoon said.

Physicians and other health care professionals can receive up to $44,000 through Medicare and almost $64,000 through Medicaid, and hospitals can receive millions of dollars, if they install systems that comply with the definition of meaningful use.

The law envisions that defined meaningful use requirements will help ensure that the patient and provider benefits of EHRs are realized. Initial meaningful use criteria were defined in a final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on July 28.