RIP CCHIT

CCHIT announced that it was ending 10 years of service.

Today, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) announced that it is winding down all operations beginning immediately. All customers and business colleagues have been notified, CCHIT staff is assisting in transitions, and all work will be ended by November 14, 2014.

Alisa Ray made these comments in the announcement:

“We are concluding our operations with pride in what has been accomplished”, said Alisa Ray, CCHIT executive director. “For the past decade CCHIT has been the leader in certification services, supported by our loyal volunteers, the contribution of our boards of trustees and commissioners, and our dedicated staff. We have worked effectively in the private and public sectors to advance our mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology. We have served hundreds of health IT developers and provided valuable education to our healthcare provider stakeholders.”

“Though CCHIT attained self-sustainability as a private independent certification body and continued to thrive as an authorized ONC testing and certification body, the slowing of the pace of ONC 2014 Edition certification and the unreliable timing of future federal health IT program requirements made program and business planning for new services uncertain. CCHIT’s trustees decided that, in the current environment, operations should be carefully brought to a close”, said Ray.

The announcement also said that CCHIT would be donating its remaining assets to the HIMSS Foundation. Makes sense since HIMSS kind of gave them a partial home the past few months as they tried to save the jobs of the many who worked at CCHIT. Credit should go to Alisa Ray for all she did to try and give those who worked at CCHIT a soft landing.

Long, long time readers of this blog will remember my long blog posts talking about CCHIT and the lack of value that they provided the EHR industry. I believed then and even now that EHR certification was more of a tax on the industry than it was something that provided value to the market. They told me it provided some assurance to the purchaser of the EHR, but I never saw such assurances.

Once EHR certification was made part of meaningful use and the HITECH act, it basically made CCHIT irrelevant. Although, I still think that EHR certification in its current state doesn’t provide value to organizations and I’d love to see it go away. Sadly, there’s some legislation which is pushing the opposite direction.

While I disagreed with CCHIT’s approach to EHR certification and the value they provided, I do think there were good people who worked there that had good intentions even if we disagreed on the approach. I hope they all land somewhere great.

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.

7 Comments

  • John: I think this points out a well known failing in our health care system. Too many certifications run by organizations that have a self interest in maintaining the status quo with, as you say, no accountability to the governing bodies. Much of this, as John Halamka points out, comes from a prescriptive approach to requirements formulation. If instead, we look at the results desired, and allow/require the open exchange of market feedback, we could have a system that guarantees functionality and yet is open to advances in technology and new business models.

  • Good intentions too often create disasters.
    The reason there is a need for EHR certification is same reason we have RACs and the same reason why we have to play games with insurance companies: because too many people try to screw the system.

    It is why meaningful use was created…to ensure docs/hospitals aren’t screwing with the system just to get their check.
    Good intentions indeed, but horribly poor implementation.

    I predict regional extension centers to be the next to fall…when their government funding ends.

  • CCHIT “ending” 10 years of service? Perhaps “bailing” would be a better term, if the following articles are to be believed…

    “Electronic medical records: The silver is off this bullet” — 10/29/2014
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2555410

    “Experts say Obama’s digital health records effort may be ‘effectively dead'” — 10/28/2014
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2555339

    “Doctors, hospitals rethinking electronic medical records mandated by 2009 law” — 10/10/2014
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2554622

    “In Second Look, Few Savings From Digital Health Records” — 01/10/2013
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/business/electronic-records-systems-have-not-reduced-health-costs-report-says.html

    The lack of interoperability (including the watering down of ‘meaningful use’ standards) is the main culprit cited for the lack of enthusiasm for EMR use. It certainly is not good news for EMR adaption when, as quoted: “many doctors – even ones that work in the same hospital – have reverted to faxing medical records to one another.”

  • I think the lack of enthusiasm comes from the following:
    – overbearing meaningful use standards (far from watered down)
    – being told by somebody (gov) how to run their practice
    – zero/none/zilch ROI from an EMR
    – costs involved with updating computers from Win 98 (ok, maybe they did actually have XP)
    – learning something new
    – being told by the gov how to run their practice (yes, I said it twice).

  • Coming from a space that puts high value on addressing the problems of individual patients, I feel the MU program set the USA about 10 years behind as a result of a shift in focus to long term outcomes data collection.

    I would love to know what percentage of the incentives ended up in the pockets of the vendors who lobbied for MU criteria.

    My take is they not only got most of the money but also succeeded in consolidating the software market to the point where almost all of the providers are stuck with what many consider to be circa-1980 solutions to current issues.

    Groups like CCHIT simply saw a need for a service and they probably satisfied that need so they are not the “bad guys”.

    Not sure whose idea it was to require re-certification each time a “significant” change was made to MU certified software.

    It did not take a long time for innovation to be put on the back burner as vendors focused on satisfying MU criteria and providers transitioned to becoming “data trolls” and preparing for possible clawbacks.

  • SO glad they are proud of the stifling judge jury and executioner business they set up for the current EHR debacle. Now that they have effectively stomped our all innovative approaches to EHR and interoperability, they are exiting the market, as they cannot make money off the few vendors that are left. Way to go! Celebrate your failure. It won’t take much time to realize that the MU program was an unnecessary, prescriptive, overly-complex government failure again. Its time to get out of the way of the innovative IT companies out there that can bring usability, security and simplicity to our daily workflow. Someone at ONC and CMS needs to step and stop all these competing overlapping overreaching awful programs like MU PQRS VBM etc.

  • There is an interesting parallel going on in the mortgage lender software business.

    At a recent convention it was blatantly obvious that most of the innovation was in regulation/rule compliance vs. advancement of the products.

    Still, that industry (mortgage lending) focuses on making money, whereas an EMR doesn’t make money for a practice and efficiency is not one of an EHRs strong suits.

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