EMR Vendors Struggle With Meaningful Use Stage 2

CCHIT head Alisa Ray, clearly, is trying to put it delicately. EMR vendors are “struggling a little bit” when it comes to meeting 2014 criteria. “It  has been a slow start,” Ray told Healthcare IT News.

Usually, hearing this would lead to an inside baseball discussion of vendor operations, which wouldn’t be very exciting. But the thing is, meeting 2014 certification criteria is necessary to allow providers to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2. So vendor struggles in complying with CCHIT’s criteria should concern providers a great deal.

There are three areas of Stage 2 that are proving to be an issue for vendors: clinical quality measures, interoperability and automated measure calculation for reporting metrics, Ray said.

This has led to a real lag in certifications. About 40 companies had listed products with the CCHIT in 2011, but a scant 21 percent of those have stepped up and gotten certified in the 2014 criteria.

According to Ray’s chat with Healthcare IT News, “almost everyone has struggled and been surprised by the complexities” of meeting 2014 standards.  Despite having gone through the process yearly since 2006 with CCHIT, several have had to go through repeated certification trials to meet criteria.

ICSA Labs’ Amit Trivedi, meanwhile, noted that while there were close to 3,000 listings, with many having multiple listings — Cerner alone had 800 — so far there less than 300 on ONC’s Certified Health IT Products list.

There are signs that EMR vendors will catch up, the HIT story suggests. For example, vendors have been working particularly hard to offer Continuity of Care Documents or Direct messaging, a capability providers must demonstrate for Meaningful  Use Stage 2, said Matt Kohler, vice president of Network Infrastructure Services at Surescripts.

But vendors clearly have some serious development challenges ahead if they want to keep up with the pace set by Meaningful Use Stage 2.  If I were a provider reading this, I’d call my vendor right away and see where they were at in the certification process.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

4 Comments

  • You might note that EVERY vendor’s ONC Stage 1 certification for EVERY product expires 12/31/2013 and that the 2014 CEHRT certification that is so daunting is required for providers who are required to demonstrate MU Stage 1 as well as those who have already demonstrated Stage 1 for 2 years or more and must demonstrate Stage 2 to qualify for incentives.

    As for MacPractice, so my comment is not misinterpreted, we expect to have a new version with all the required features for submission for certification in mid-November. We will give that version to clients first, as we continually test it internally against the test requirements in preparation for our 3 days of certification testing. We will submit when we are confident that we can pass the first time. Some clients have already worked with our new version, as required.

    As NO EP is required to demonstrate for more than 90 days or one quarter of 2014, I expect most doctors to choose to demonstrate in the 4th quarter, or the 3rd at the earliest. Our clients should have a certified version of MP available to them in advance of the 1st quarter in case they want to be among the first who attempt to interoperate with the small number of other providers who have also chosen to do so in the 1st quarter, but I would recommend that they not be on the “bleeding edge.”

    Our hope is that the bar for certification is high enough in 2014 that there will be a shake-out of many of the vendors who are not financially self-sustaining. As someone who has been in this market for 30 years, it is my opinion that the market is clearly insufficient to support the current number EHR vendors if they are required to be viable, self-sustaining operations. The sooner the inevitable shake-out, the better for providers and for vendors who can be or are self-sustaining in my opinion.

    If a vendor’s or a vendor’s investors’ objective is to prepare a company for acquisition rather than to become self-sustaining, I would guess there is a better than even chance their users will be forced to abandon the software they adopted at great expense. The provider will most likely be given an “opportunity” to migrate to another software, not of their choice, or they will have to try to get their data out and get it into a new software, again at great expense and inconvenience to them. According to the October issue of Medical Economics that ranks the top 100 EHRs according to their annual revenue (MacPractice is 28th), doctors they spoke to are most concerned about the financial stability of vendors, as they should be.

    Mark
    ______________________________
    Mark Hollis, CEO
    MacPractice, Inc.
    (212) 683-2224
    http://www.MacPractice.com
    MarkHollis@MacPractice.com

  • Try doing this as a Open Source Project!

    We were very successful with Stage 1 and are making good progress in stage 2, but the funding (donations in time and money) needed for Stage 2 are larger, by far. We are, however, confident that we will cross the bar this time as well. We have strong commitments from our contributors and have already handled the Direct messaging and are most of the way done with CCD related activities.

    We too see a drop off in Certified EMR that are white labeled OpenEMR versions. There were originally 10+, looks like we may be down to 4 by Stage 2.

    The thinning out of the EMR business is proceeding as expected…

    Tony, OEMR.org 501c3 President

  • Mark,
    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    Tony,
    I’m glad to hear that OEMR is going forward with it. It’s interesting that many of the white labeled ones won’t be going forward.

  • Mark,

    30 years??? I thought I was the most experienced here. 🙂

    “As someone who has been in this market for 30 years, it is my opinion that the market is clearly insufficient to support the current number EHR vendors if they are required to be viable, self-sustaining operations. The sooner the inevitable shake-out, the better for providers and for vendors who can be or are self-sustaining in my opinion.”

    Depends on stimulus. Not just HiTech/ARRA, but Bernanke and successor as well to an extent.

    The only “free” in free markets now is the handful of fremium PM/EMR systems.

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