Business is booming at the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology.
The not-for-profit commission is, so far, the only game in town when it comes to testing and certifying electronic health-record systems.
And in February, President Barack Obama signed the federal stimulus legislation with tens of billions of dollars for provider subsidies to buy EHR systemsprovided they are certified and afford providers "meaningful use."
Were already seeing the stimulus, said CCHIT Chairman Mark Leavitt at a town-hall meeting attended by about 200 people at the HIMSS convention in Chicago on Sunday. In February there were 10 applications by vendors for CCHIT certification of their IT products, Leavitt said. In March, that number soared to 44 or 45 applications, he said.
Leavitt also defended his organization from criticism, chiefly from smaller vendors of IT systems, that the fees it charges for testing and certification cost too much and will drive the smaller firms out of business, thus stifling competition and possibly hampering innovation.
According to data collected, however, Leavitt reported that 25% of companies with IT systems certified by CCHIT have revenue of under $1 million with another 37% having revenue from $1 million to $10 million.
A recent Health IT Strategist reader poll had 79% of respondents saying CCHIT should add system usability to its testing criteria.
Apparently, CCHIT has been hearing similar requests.
Were thinking of adding a rating system and give the data to the users, Leavitt said. Its ratings could include evaluation by users regarding vendor support, implementation methodology, training capabilities, customer satisfaction as well as usability, which, Leavitt said, is difficult, but not impossible to do.