New EHR Certification Pathways from CCHIT

I participated in both of the CCHIT “town calls” that happened this morning and yesterday. I did miss the beginning of today’s call, but looking through the slides it looks like the presentation was more or less the same for both town calls. You can see the slides from both CCHIT presentations here. Between this and the HIT Policy Committee meeting yesterday there’s almost too much to digest. So, in my regular fashion I’m going to break down my analysis into lots of bite sized chunks.

The biggest change that was proposed/announced during the CCHIT meeting was three EHR certification pathways:
EHR-C: Certified EHR Comprehensive
EHR-M: Certified EHR Module
EHR-S: Certified EHR Site

Basically, the EHR-C is the same certification that CCHIT has been doing since the beginning. Certainly the requirements for the EHR-C certification could be changed, added to, modified in order to meet the ARRA requirements, but for all intents and purposes this is what CCHIT has been doing for years.

The EHR-M certification is where CCHIT will certify certain modules from a software vendor. If my understanding is correct, CCHIT plans to take the various criteria that comes out of ONC and HHS and then use those criteria to decide which modules will be certified. An EHR vendor, or even other HIT product vendors, could choose to just get e-Prescribing EHR-M certified. I guess the thought here is that a hospital system, for example, could use one software vendor for e-Prescribing, another for EHR, and another for HIE and as long as they are all EHR-M certified, then the hospital could qualify for ARRA incentives.

The EHR-S certification is essentially where CCHIT will certify a site (better defined as an organization) to show that they meet the various ARRA requirements. It was made abundantly clear that the EHR-S certification only certifies that the site meets the ARRA requirements and not necessarily that the software that site is using meets the requirements. I’m sure this will be a topic worth discussing. Basically, the EHR-S certification tries to certify that a site is using an EHR to the ARRA requirements.

How’s that for a summary of the new EHR certification pathways? Did I misunderstand anything or leave anything out? Let me know in the comments and I’ll update anything that’s not clear.

Now, look forward to more commentary on the benefits and challenges of these paths, the timeline that CCHIT has proposed, CCHIT EHR ratings, CCHIT Certification codes, and of course plenty more discussion on the latest meaningful use draft document. I’ll try to space out the posts as much as possible so as not to overwhelm you.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, 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.


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