Number of EHR Certifying Bodies Continues to Increase

An article by Government Health IT’s Mary Mosquera has some interesting data from ONC about the number of EHR certifying bodies there might be available to EHR vendors. Here’s the most relevant section:

So far, ONC has received six or seven completed applications out of the 30 it sent to organizations that have requested them since July 1, said Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator, at a meeting of the advisory Health IT Policy Committee.

ONC released in June its final rule for the temporary certification program, which lays out steps organizations must take to be authorized by ONC to both test and certify that EHRs can perform the functions required for meaningful use.

“We are optimistic that we will have a new landscape in the certification realm in which, instead of having a single certification body, there will be more opportunity, a broader pipeline for certification, hopefully more price competition and shorter waiting times to get certification,” Blumenthal said at the committee meeting July 21.

6-7 applications to certify EHR software and 24 more out there that could come in. That sure blows the initial projection of 5 EHR Certifying body applications out of the water. I’m not really sure the business model for these organization. The customer base is about 300 EMR companies. That’s a pretty small market for these organizations to share.

I imagine this is really bad news for those people at CCHIT too. Mostly because CCHIT’s only product is certifying EHR software. At least other organizations like the Drummond Group do a number of certifications. Who would have guessed that the ARRA EMR stimulus money that looked so promising for CCHIT could become the legislation that drives them to irrelevancy?

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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.

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  • HI John

    I believe there is a lot of work other than the EHR certification; if you look at this in holistic manner, all the mom and pop/regional labs now should be capable of bi-directional data flow; and other vendors including MRI labs should have bi directional data flow in the II edition of MU. I am sure there should some bodies that can monitor periodically and certify all the standards…… on a continuous basis.

    Anthony Subbiah

  • I think that it is the other certification boards that need to worry, not CCHIT. The fact is, a certification board lives and dies only on its reputation. The carpetbagging certifiers have a huge uphill battle, while one that is ingrained in the market, like CCHIT, has a distinct advantage.

    When it comes to certification boards, market size has little meaning. EHRs will choose the 5 certifiers they want to use within a few years, and all 300 will be getting certified by all 5. Certification is not a typical industry with competition, you need to get certified by everyone to be truly competitive. Thirty is too many, though, so some are going to fall into irrelevancy. Don’t count on it being CCHIT, though, who has been here forever.

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