My CCHIT Certified EMR

I’m guessing that many of my readers may be surprised that I work with a CCHIT certified EMR every day.  It’s true.  I got hired to implement an EMR at least a year or two before CCHIT even existed.  In fact, I wasn’t even part of the selection process.  I just did everything I could to make it a successful implementation.  By almost all measures, the users of this EMR are happy we implemented this EMR.

Does it matter that this EMR is CCHIT certified?  Not really.  We implemented it well before it met all the laundry list of CCHIT certification criteria.  Have we made a CCHIT certification be very beneficial for our clinic?  Certainly.

Unfortunately, it kind of masks my biggest problem with my EMR software company putting such a strong emphasis on CCHIT certification.  My problem is that for at least one major software version life cycle, my EMR was focused on CCHIT certification as opposed to the forward thinking improvements that could have been implemented.

As if one software lifecycle wasn’t enough, I just heard that they’re going to be spending another version on this year’s CCHIT certification.  Basically, almost all innovation on the product that could have been used to satisfy the customers has been put on hold to appease a certification requirement.

I’m not saying that CCHIT certification is all bad.  For example, I’m told the latest CCHIT certification includes a requirement for a button which can print the entire medical record with one click.  Our HIM staff will love this feature and I’ve been told CCHIT certification was the driver behind this feature.

Who’s to say that this feature wouldn’t have been pushed to the top of the priority list even without CCHIT certification?  However, I can’t help but wonder what other more innovative feature we could have had in its place.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Very enlightening. What would be your recommendation to be “certified” in order to qualify for receiving funding for an EMR? Or have a basement set of requirements for physicians starting their research for an EMR? Possibly CCHIT, or similarly qualified entity?

  • That first one is a loaded question. I personally think that the money should have been spent on the interaction of EMR instead of actual EMR implementations. Possibly providing the technology to do EMR. I haven’t really thought about it completely. Mostly I think it’s probably a waste of money for government to help pay for EMR. Instead they should do like a company would and find ways to invest in technology that will help Medicare and Medicaid save money in processing claims. They could also provide real value in sharing data since doctors won’t have this motivation otherwise. Leave the EMR implementation to software vendors. Once the software provides value to a doctor they’ll implement.

    I like your second question. I am working on creating a basement requirement list, but even the list I provide should be narrowed down by a doctor depending on the need and workflow of a clinic so they focus on what’s most important to them.

    I definitely wouldn’t use CCHIT. Since HHS doesn’t really have a choice at this point, they have to find a way to “certify” an EMR, I think I’d probably go with functional components as a means of certification. I just think that they’ll waste a lot of money measuring who is and isn’t a meaningful EHR user regardless of what certified EHR they use.

  • Interesting. Maybe we survey current users of an EMR, get their comments and concerns and their overall report card. Then maybe sort it by specialty? That way we could get a sense of success or failure. After their response, maybe further conversation and opinion??

  • You’re thinking along the same lines as I’m thinking. I may pursue a PhD and if I do, this could be one of my areas of research. My theory is that usability is best measured by actual users of the system. Could be the best way to measure it if you can get a large enough sample for each EMR vendor.

  • Meaningful use is easily defined as:

    What are the minimum patient information needs of a clinician seeing a patient?
    Universal credentialed access to:
    1 Medication List (active and not)
    2 Issues List (active and not)
    3 Progress Notes (from previous encounters especially with other clinicians)

    Oops that wouldn’t cost billons so…….
    …… bring on the lobbyists.

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