The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission has released an approved, final version of its accreditation criteria for developers of practice-management systems and their software products, the not-for-profit accreditation and standards development organization has announced.
The accreditation program measures products against criteria for ICD-10 readiness and the use of other federally mandated data standards, and the privacy and security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Affordable Care Act.
“If I were a vendor, I might say it was a good thing,” said Vinson Hudson, a health IT market consultant based in Dunedin, Fla. Hudson has been following the practice-management system market for more than 40 years.
The cost and effort involved in going through the certification process will drive some smaller developers out of the business, he explained. “Personally, if the accreditation criteria are good, you should have better systems out there. I think it's more positive than it is negative,” Hudson said.
The practice-management system accreditation program is a joint initiative of EHNAC and the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, both not-for-profit organizations; it was launched in 2014.
For virtually all providers, computerization first came to the administrative and financial aspects of the healthcare enterprise, followed much later by electronic health-record systems, Hudson said.
Of the 591 health IT product vendors in his database, 532 are vendors offering practice-management systems while 401 are offering EHR systems. Most offer both, Hudson said.
That's out of necessity, he explained, because the federal government began offering financial incentives to adopt EHRs in 2011 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As a result, “Many of those companies that have practice-management systems only are offering EHRs from somebody else,” he said.
It also was federal inducement that led in 2006 to the creation of the first accreditation body for EHRs, the not-for-profit Certification Commission for Health Information Technology.
Like the early days of CCHIT, accreditation of practice-management developers and products will be voluntary.
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