Is ICSA Labs Getting Out of the EHR Certification Business?

I got the following email that was received by ICSA customers:

Dear Valued Customer:

Your organization has received product testing and certification services as a customer of ICSA Labs, a division of MCI Communications Services, Inc., d/b/a Verizon Business Services (“ICSA Labs”).

I am writing to inform you that ICSA Labs will no longer be accepting new engagements for product testing and certification, or renewing expiring Statement(s) of Service. However, please be assured that we will continue to honor any existing, active Statements of Service that we may have with your organization, and to maintain any current certifications for the applicable term.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any questions, please contact


George Japak
ICSA Labs, Managing Director

Does this mean ICSA is withdrawing as an EHR Certifying body (ATCB)? I asked EHR certification expert, Jim Tate, which EHR certifying bodies remain if ICSA is pulling out and he said that right now Drummond, ICSA, InfoGard, and SLI are authorized to test and only Drummond, ICSA, and InfoGard are authorized to certify. You can find more details on the ONC website.

A part of me isn’t really surprised since the EHR certification business isn’t a great business. There are a limited number of clients and a limited amount of revenue available. Plus, under meaningful use, EHR certification became a commodity. That’s why CCHIT couldn’t survive. Seems like ICSA Labs is heading the same direction as CCHIT.

The bigger question I would ask is should EHR certification continue at all?

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John Lynn

John Lynn

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1 Comment

  • The bigger question I would ask is should EHR certification continue at all?

    Great question…and from a EHR using MD from 1999 to date, I can tell you that its an empathic NO!! Cert EHR has set back EHRs at least a decade maybe longer. It has stifled innovation, and continues to make a policy market, instead of a real competitive market for usability, efficiency, safety, security, etc. EHRs and HIT PRIOR to HITECH were actually working for MDs. They were making fast improvements year after year. The best EHRs died with Cert. Somehow ONC and CMS brought in a bunch of arrogant, non-practicing MDs and devised a ridiculous plan with HITECH and MU. Anyone with a single ounce of prior EHR experience and database programming could tell, from the onset that MU was going to fail. Sure they laid out some cash and got MDs to “buy” computers and EHRs but was it effective policy? NO way. MDs have quit, retired, moved nonclinical, or worse and over 50% are burned out beyond repair. MU boasts about a 20% participation rate. Awful. And year after year, we left comments and told ONC and CMS that these programs are damaging and awful. Even to date, they are always cutting back on measures, and report dates and they know that no one can possibly do this program. At some point they have to grow a pair and just stop it. Just say we are done, that all these numerators denominators attesting wasting time measuring and such is nonsense and costly and burdensome and impossible to compare MDs on quality with the methods we are employing. Its truly a nightmare and it has to stop.

    The Cert believers are dying fast, but hold tight to the nanny state of needing to Cert EHR to “protect” us from the vicious EHR companies that promise everything but deliver nothing. Ummm, we have that now. Horrible, nightmarish clunky programs that are an abomination. They would not sell one copy in any other market. Whats worse is we have driven out the innovation and make a HIT industrial complex with a McDonnell Douglass and Boeing (Cerner and Epic). They are all prancing around in their fancy HQs getting massages and custom meals, playing around, living the dream, on the backs of MDs and hospitals. I’ve seen these placew. Its unreal and certainly pathetic. They could be working very hard to improve usability, workflow, etc. but ALWAYS fall back on “well we can’t do anything to your EHR or we risk decert” so your request for 100 less clicks and typing to get a prescription monitoring report, is on hold. And lets think for a moment, when has a policy market ever worked? Never. When has penalizing MDs to force them to do programs ever worked? Never. Has MU worked? no. Has PQRS worked? no. Will MACRA work? same as both plus CPIA, no way. So lets be very clear. If CMS wants innovative patient care models, do not box us in with Cert EHR. If we want improvements, let cert die and allow new players in the market. The old clumsy Cerner and Epic will fight to maintain as they have NO interest in being beat out by new innovative companies. So a fight will happen. But thats ok.

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