Providers Awareness of EHR Certification Bodies

One of my readers recently linked me to an article from back in July that talks about providers lack of understanding of EHR certification and the possibility of EHR certification bodies beyond CCHIT. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has made it clear that it wants multiple EHR certification bodies, but that message apparently has not made it out to many physician practices. According to a survey by Burlington, Vt.-based consulting firm CapSite, 69 percent of healthcare providers are unaware that there will be alternatives to the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology in terms of certifying ambulatory EHR systems.

Additionally, 52 percent of the 850 providers surveyed incorrectly believe that CCHIT certification is a prerequisite to receiving Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments for meaningful use of EHRs. In reality, ONC will designate authorized testing and certification bodies, which then will test and certify EHRs on behalf of vendors.

As most of you know I have a real disdain for misinformation. I’m all about exposing the truth and spreading the knowledge as far as possible. So, you can imagine my reaction to providers not understanding that there are multiple EHR certification bodies and that all of the EHR certification bodies can provide doctors access to the EMR stimulus money.

The only problem is that I’m guessing that most readers of this blog already know this information. I like to think that readers of this blog are smarter and more informed than those who don’t. I was going to do a poll to see who knew what. Only problem is that reading above you’d know the answers.

Either way, if readers of this blog work to inform the people around them that there are multiple EHR certifying bodies (Drummond Group and InfoGuard with others on the way) and that it doesn’t matter which EHR certifying body you use then I think we’d have some impact for good on the EHR world!

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.


  • John… It’s truly not as big a deal as CapSite would like to make it out to be. This falls in the category of “Who Cares… and So What?”

    CapSite just wants to make it look like there is a knowledge breakdown so they can ‘solve’ the deficiency by selling their service.

    Fact that so high a percentage of providers didn’t know ONC’s plan for multiple ATCBs a month before the first 2 ATCBs were announced just means that providers were occupying their brains with something far more relevant to their practice of medicine.

    Reason CapSite wants to make a big deal over this HUGE number (like half of 850 providers nation-wide) is because they sell consulting services. If a segment of their client base knew everything it needed to know (as defined by CapSite’s survey) then CapSite wouldn’t have anything to sell to the market then would they?

    Here’s the actual CapSite 14 July 2010 story reporting the results of their survey:

    Who Cares … and So What?

  • Don B,
    Actually, I care and I have nothing to sell. I haven’t done any formal studies, but with all of the doctors that I’ve talked to and interacted with have a lot of misinformation. I think this is a bad thing for the EMR market and I have a strong feeling that most big EMR vendor sales people will continue to perpetuate this misinformation.

  • Hi,

    My first thought was that it didn’t matter a whole lot. I felt this way because I assumed that most providers are not going to be seeking certification of their EHR. Rather, they would leave that up to their vendors.

    However, after reading the comments I am wondering if there is a reason that I should be more concerned.


  • John … Understand you care based on your role in expanding general and specific EHR/EMR knowledge. Vendors should care. RECs should care. As for ambulatory providers … the fact that one month before ONC designated ANY ATCBs that providers knew that certification was required is positive and important.

    CapSite asked the following:

    “Is it your understanding that CCHIT Certification is required to receive Stimulus funds for your Ambulatory EHR solution purchase? (n=788)”

    You ask a question in that matter … then you should not be surprised that an erroneous response comes back.

    This survey was all about CapSite marketing its services to ambulatory providers as stated on its website:

    “CapSite provides unique and detailed market transparency so that you can clearly see the best course of action. It offers detailed, fact-based data to make prudent, informed capital expenditure decisions.

    Whether your organization is looking for the latest IT solutions, medical device upgrades, or other capital expenditure needs, CapSite is the source for proposal pricing, packaging, and terms and conditions information.”

    If CapSite can show there is a knowledge gap… that they perpetuated in how they asked the question… then they are influencing ambulatory providers to secure their consulting services.

    That’s all this is… CapSite marketing. We must always question the intent of a survey before embracing its results.

  • Don B,
    I bet if CapSite or someone else did this same study they’d find similar results. I was actually surprised that the people they asked knew about certified EHR at all.

    Anyway, the point of the post is just to raise awareness that 1. there’s alternatives that are the same as CCHIT and 2. CCHIT full certification provides NO assurance of anything of value to doctors.

  • Doctors don’t and shouldn’t care who certifies EMRs. Most don’t have time to grasp the basics of MU. This is a very tiny issue for doctors. They have enough other demands on their attention.

  • John … CapSite did the survey and crafted the questions to generate exactly the result they were looking for to promote their consultant work for ambulatory practices.

    Yes … there are alternatives FOR VENDORS to consider… but it makes ZERO differnce who the certifying body is to the practice … IF the only thing they are concerned with is ARRA MU incentives.

    If they don’t care about MU… and simply want the best system that supports the practice’s business and clinical processes … then the number of ATCB’s is totally irrelevant.

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