Is Your EMR Stimulus Ready?

Brian at new EMR vendor Health Fusion sent me an email discussing some of the posts I’d done about CCHIT certification. In the email, he talked about how many doctors would ask him if his EMR is CCHIT certified. He then told me that his response to those doctors is that it’s not CCHIT certified, but it is is “Stimulus Ready.”

I like the concept of “stimulus ready” instead of certified. First, because I think that CCHIT offers doctors no benefit (as is well documented in my previous CCHIT posts). However, more important is to consider what I think doctors are really asking.

When a doctor asks an EMR vendor if they are CCHIT certified, what they’re really asking is one of two questions (or possibly both).
1. Can you give me some assurance that your EMR vendor has a higher implementation success rate than other EMR vendors? I’ve seen far too many of my colleagues fair or heard stories of too many EMR failures.
2. Can your EMR software get me the HITECH act stimulus money?

The problem is that right now, CCHIT can’t answer either of these questions. The first question they’re likely never going to be able to say with real authority. The second one they are likely to answer at some point, but can’t do yet.

This is why I like the idea of an EMR saying that they are “stimulus ready.” Essentially that means that the EMR vendor is planning to do whatever it takes to get their EMR software certified according to the yet to be released HHS criteria. Let’s hope David Brailer is right and access to the EMR stimulus money will end up being relatively simple.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.

3 Comments

  • When you have 5 minutes, take a look at the link below. This article offers enlightening facts about the changes we will see in the EHR technology marketplace moving forward into 2010. In regards to CCHIT certification, it may not be the only game in town. MIE and our WebChart EHR has been following these changes and subscribes to this message. Although MIE queuing up for the latest CCHIT certification, MIE has believed that CCHIT MAY not be the governing body in the end and MIE believes in the modular approach so that physicians can practice medicine not documentation that will slow them down. Please take a look at the article and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or may be looking for an EHR that lets the physicians practice medicine.

    http://www.thehealthcareblog.com/the_health_care_blog/2009/12/2009-a-year-of-surprises-and-change-for-the-ehr-technology-market.html

  • I so agree with what Brian said about Stimulus ready versus CCHIT certified. CCHIT certified means that an EHR has paid a large, very large sum of money to the CCHIT organization to be reviewed and meet a check list. But that check list misses so many areas of needed controls and compliance, one glaringly staring at me is coding compliance. We should be more concerned with functionality, compliance and meeting what ultimately becomes what the government outlines as what they require for the stimulus money and so far, they have not stated that it is CCHIT certified.

    When you have a vendor guaranteeing that you will get your stimulus money, that means that if they don’t live up to the ultimate government requirements, they will pay you the stimulus money. I don’t think they can afford to do this for all of their customers and it is far wiser for the long and short term to make sure their EHR meets all of the government requirements for stimulus money to be paid.

    Well said, Brian.

  • Barbara,
    I don’t think you’re quite correct about what will happen if you don’t get the stimulus money despite a vendor guarantee. There might be some exceptions, but for the EMR stimulus guarantees that I’ve seen you really need to look at the fine print. Basically, the EHR vendor has a ton of ways of getting out paying you for the stimulus money you weren’t able to get. Most of them will just blame you for not doing something you should have done to get the stimulus money. Whether it’s true or not, the EMR vendors have more legal behind them than most doctors offices will. Plus, a court case for just the stimulus money isn’t very practical.

    You’re analysis of CCHIT is pretty dead on.

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