The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology should be the sole certifying entity for EHRs, according to the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association.

The trade group of EHR vendors on July 13 sent a comment letter to the HIT Policy Committee's certification/adoption workgroup. The committee is developing recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on numerous issues related to provisions of the economic stimulus law, widespread adoption of EHRs and development of a national health information network.

"Given time constraints and CCHIT's experience in certifying EHRs, the Association supports CCHIT as the single certifying entity to avoid duplication of effort, unnecessary expense and confusion in the market," according to the comment letter. "To avoid market confusion and enhance consistency, we prefer that there be one single certifying body. In any event, certification should be based on a common set of certification criteria."

The EHR association is within the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which was a co-founder of CCHIT. The association's letter addresses specific questions that the HIT Policy Committee's certification/adoption workgroup is asking industry stakeholders.

Asked if certification should be viewed as a "seal of approval" process, the association replies: "No, to the extent that a 'seal of approval' implies endorsement of the product. Certification should indicate that the product meets certification criteria indicating that it is a qualified, comprehensive EHR and is capable of enabling providers to achieve 'meaningful use' requirements."

The complete comment letter is available at

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