First CCHIT Certified 2010 EHR – Badge of Wisdom or Stupidity?

I recently got a very short email sent to me to a press release about the first EMR to receive the full CCHIT 2011 Comprehensive Certification. I’m not sure what they wanted me to do with the release, and so I guess I’ll do what I normally do and call it the way I see it.

Does this EHR vendor consider the fact that they’re the first EHR to get the CCHIT 2011 Comprehensive Certification as a badge of wisdom that everyone will applaud? I’m guessing they’ve probably never read my past posts about CCHIT. Otherwise, I’m not sure they would have sent me that press release. However, I think it’s worth asking ourselves whether this was a smart move or a stupid one.

Certainly they’re going to get some coverage because their the first EHR certified. This blog post is proof of that. However, even in the short term will doctors care that they have the “comprehensive” CCHIT certifcation as opposed to the ARRA/HHS certification?

The doctors that I talk to aren’t asking for “comprehensive CCHIT certification.” Instead there asking one (or both) of these questions: “How do I get the EMR stimulus money?” and/or “Is yours a certified EHR?” Of course, half of the doctors out there are actually saying “EMR stimulus money? Huh?” but that’s a topic for another post. The interesting part is that in the next 6 months EHR vendors should be able to answer either of the above questions in the affirmative and never be CCHIT certified at all (see Drummond Group EHR Certification as one example).

If my above assumption is correct, then most doctors could care less about CCHIT “comprehensive” EHR certification. Then, that also means that the first EHR vendor to be fully “CCHIT Certified 2011 Ambulatory EHR” is going to look pretty silly having spent a TON of money on certification and development time to be certified. Imagine the great features that could have been developed with that money instead of being spent on a meaningless certification.

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.


  • My older son was in the market for his first home in 2008, and was more than happy to take the ARRA first-time mortgage benefit when reached settlement in March 2009. How fortuitous! But those who were not yet ready to be first-time home buyers would have been foolish to buy a home simply to “get the money”. The analogy applies to EMR.

    Doctors should not consider implementing an EMR *solely* on the possibility of ARRA remuneration. If they were considering an EMR anyway, then taking advantage of ARRA is icing on the cake. But it would be foolish to implement an EMR simply to “get the money”.

  • “it would be foolish to implement an EMR simply to “get the money”.”

    Nicely put David. I like the analogy too. Your icing on the cake comment gave me an idea for another post.

  • As voices in the healthcare industry wilderness, it is our role to drive home the message that certification does not guarantee or attempt to identify EMR systems that are useful or usable. Similarly, “meaningful use” is relevant to government financial incentives and not, as one might hope, to a system that might be used in a meaningful way by its users.

    With that in mind, the following quote from the “certified” EMR system should be a wake up call to everyone:

    “Comprehensive certification from the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®), which is intended to give healthcare providers maximum assurance that a product will meet their needs…”

    In that quote, “healthcare providers” does not seem to me to refer to healthcare workers. And that has me worried.

  • Kevin,
    I’m trying to do my part to spread that message. The quote you added really sickens me too. It’s the CCHIT spin that confuses people into thinking that CCHIT certification has some meaning. Too bad intent to do something and actually doing it are very different things.

  • John,

    At AXEO, any resources of most any sort go into R&D.
    The certfication time and expense though is minimal compared to our QA. We will probably go through the process just to get some inexpensive walk throughs and feedback. 🙂

    What we would really like to know: Are there CCHIT requirements that are considered (or will be considered) drawbacks or negatives by the marketplace?

    Silverlight 4 PM+EMR on the runway.

  • Axeo,
    Most people in the marketplace won’t know the difference. However, I’ve heard from dozens of EMR vendors who’ve told me that a number of the features required by CCHIT are worthless to their clients.

  • What I cannot understand is why such value is placed on CCHIT certification when CCHIT EHR’s allow features such as copy and paste of history and exams and auditors know that this leads to the creation of non compliant and incorrect records. This is just one element where CCHIT certification has not addressed critical coding issues. I hope the ultimate “meaningful use” requirements will consider key coding and documentation issues for EM in the requirements.

  • Certified for what, and so what? One can ask a whole bunch of questions right now of any HIT vendor claiming they are now, or guaranteeing they will be ARRA “meaningful” or “certified”.

    Patient Engagement: How do you do it now or how do you plan to do it that meets the ARRA guidelines and requirements?

    Just one simple basic example. There are dozens more.

    Silverlight 4 PM+EMR waiting for the dust to settle.

  • Barbara,
    Good PR. Wait no….Great PR. Which makes sense since you have billion dollar companies assisting to propagate (indirectly of course) the PR around CCHIT certification.

  • AXEO,
    “Certified for what, and so what?”

    This is easily answered from an EMR vendor’s perspective. It sells more product. Sad, but true.

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