The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology may get a watchman.
That was the gist of a presentation by Gordon Gillerman, chief of the standards division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, at a meeting of the certification and adoption work group of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee Tuesday in Washington.
The policy committee was created pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which earmarked $20 million to NIST of the $2 billion appropriated to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS to assist in the national healthcare IT program. The law specifically instructs the ONC, in consultation with NIST, to “keep or recognize a program or programs for the voluntary certification of health information technology as being in compliance with applicable certification criteria.”
Gillerman said that there are many different ways in which a hierarchy can be developed to have a watchman over the watchmen, such as having an accreditation organization, such as the American National Standards Institute, oversee a certification organization such as CCHIT. Gillerman said that he does not envision NIST itself becoming directly involved in accrediting certification organizations.
Work group member Joseph Heyman, the immediate past chairman of the American Medical Association, asked what NIST's role will be in this process, whether “the ONC will decide what needs to be certified and then NIST will design the process?”
Gillerman said, “I think we will assist in the design of the process and help ONC with making a better decision in deciding what the process will be.”