Responding to an accelerated timeline for standards development and the estimated tens of billions of dollars in government funding coming for information technology subsidies under the new federal economic stimulus legislation, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology has announced it will, in turn, speed up development and use what it is calling advanced technology certification programs in its healthcare IT systems testing and certification initiative.
The new categories of accelerated testing criteria are in advanced clinical-decision support and advanced security. They were added to the upcoming 2009-10 criteria development cycle, according to a CCHIT news release. Testing criteria for advanced clinical decision support and security already were on what the commission calls its road map for future development, but were not scheduled for completion until 2011, the release said. They will join already scheduled advanced criteria for interoperability and quality improvement criteria for development in the current 2009-10 cycle.
Last month, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which included massive IT funding as part of the stimulus funding as well a restructuring of federal organizations to oversee IT development and deployment in the healthcare industry.
We see evidence that the health IT programs under the recovery act will be implemented according to the ambitious schedules in the legislation, said CCHIT Chairman Mark Leavitt, M.D., in the release. For CCHIT to ensure that a robust selection of certification options will be available when the HIT Policy and Standards Committees (two organizations to be created under the recovery act) make their decisions later this year, our own schedule must be equally ambitious. Thats why we have decided to develop all four of these advanced certification options at once.
The commission delayed slightly the opening of registration for volunteers to serve on CCHIT work groups in order to accommodate volunteers wanting to help develop the four advanced testing criteria. The opening day for applications was pushed back from March 23 to March 26. The deadline for applications is April 20.