Sole Reliance on One EHR Certififying Body – CCHIT

There’s a whole lot of discussion going on (rightfully so) right now about CCHIT EHR certification and of course the term “certified EHR.” I don’t know if anyone else has noticed or not, but there seems to be a bit of a growing movement towards not having ONE EHR certifying body (presumably CCHIT).

A post over on John Chilmark’s blog highlights a really interesting point about having only one EHR certifying body. The point is that there’s little accountability if CCHIT is the only body that’s certifying EHR vendors. What reason would CCHIT really have to improve its certification if it’s the de facto standard for certification? CCHIT admitted that their CCHIT EHR certification wasn’t up to the ambitious goals of HITECH/ARRA. That doesn’t mean they can’t change (although I have my reasonable doubts). However, if they are set up as the sole EHR vendor certification body, then what reason would they have to change?

OK. Yes, you could make an argument that they would want to change for the common good of man. Yes, that means we would see some change on their behalf towards that goal. However, to really change the game in EHR, we need something that requires people to innovate and a sole EHR certification of any kind will have a rough time doing that.

What scares me is that I think that CCHIT is aware of its weaknesses and realizes that it wouldn’t be able to iterate it’s EHR certification to meet the ever changing technology. It seems like the market is ripe for some really smart person to do something to better certify EHR. I wonder what type of game changing certification that will be.

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.


  • CCHIT is not perfect, so let’s work with them to make the process and the certification requirements better. Sacrificing the good in pursuit of the perfect will not move the EHR industry, EHR adoption or healthcare productivity forward. We have an opportunity right now to accelerate change. Let’s not squander it by trying to start a certification process/organization from scratch.

  • John Smith,
    I’ve thought about this question a number of times. The real question lies in whether we think that CCHIT can be repaired. The other related question is whether an EHR certification is even necessary and beneficial.

    My current stance (which could be changed) is that I see very little redeeming quality in the work that CCHIT is doing. In fact, I think it misleads many people into implementing an EHR that they think has been tested and certified as usable and it’s not. So far I have yet to think of a better way to certify an EHR and so I’m in the certification is not beneficial to doctors. Once I find a way to certify EHR in a way that will be beneficial to those selecting an EHR, I’ll be happy to support it. In fact, if I knew a way to do this, I’d probably start doing it myself.

    Until then, I’ll be doing my best to inform people of the problems of having CCHIT and in particular having ONLY CCHIT as the certifying body. At least having some EHR certification competition would help to keep the process more honest and hopefully lead to an EHR certication innovation that would be meaningful.

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