The once-rapid pace of EHR adoption has slowed, however, and the tempo of testing and certification of those systems has become erratic.
Besides CCHIT, there are five other Accredited Testing Laboratories recognized by the ONC and three other ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies doing the same work as CCHIT, which both tests and certifies EHRs and their component parts as qualified for use in the EHR incentive payment program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
CCHIT announced it also will halt its private-label certification programs for other health IT systems, including those used in cardiology, women's health, oncology, long-term and post-acute care and behavioral health. Expertise gained in developing those testing programs won't go to waste, however, Ray said, as the organization pivots to a more global scope.
The organization is reviving an affiliation with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the trade association for the health IT industry, which CCHIT said could open up global opportunities.
CCHIT will retain its own name and independent corporate status, but HIMSS has appointed four of its board members to CCHIT's seven member board, Ray said.
The certification commission was established in 2004 at the behest of Dr. David Brailer, then head of the ONC. Early in his campaign to boost the use of electronic health-record systems, Brailer called for the private sector to create an independent testing and certification authority for EHRs akin to the Underwriters Laboratory seal for consumer appliances. He reasoned the lack of arms-length information about EHRs was a barrier to clinician adoption.
HIMSS, the American Health Information Management Association and the now-defunct National Alliance for Health Information Technology kicked in time, talent and money to launch CCHIT, which subsequently received a federal contract to develop a testing and certification program for health IT systems.