CCHIT Attempts to Set Record Straight

rocksockMark Leavitt, the leader of CCHIT has apparently had enough and has gone on the offense with a recent post defending the organization he represents and attacking naysayers, particularly Dr. David Kibbe who was recently quoted in a Washington Post article.

Is Leavitt’s post a desperate act from an organization who seems to be coming under increasing scrutiny for its close relationship to the HIT vendor advocacy organization, HIMSS? At first blush, the vitriol of his response comes off that way which is unfortunate and really misses the point.

Yes, there may be some questionable conflicts of interest between CCHIT and HIMSS, a relationship that remains extremely close. As an example, earlier this week Chilmark received a copy of an email that was sent by a HIMSS subcommittee to Mark Leavitt with an attached draft White Paper on “Defining & Testing EHR Usability” an area that CCHIT has made noises about certifying in the future.  Looks to us as if HIMSS is directly advising and guiding CCHIT. Is that really appropriate?

We’ll leave that for others to answer.

What Chilmark’s chief concern has been all along, and one that Dr. Kibbe shares as well as those who participated in the recent Markle Framework workshop and are signatories to the published report: Getting Health IT Right is that the potential for sole reliance on CCHIT for “certifying EHRs” under the ARRA is an extremely risky proposition, though this is exactly what HIMSS and CCHIT have been promoting all along. Reporter Dana Blackenhorn of ZDNet also has chimed in on the issue from the perspective of one who has seen more than a few similar efforts over the years covering IT.

Sole reliance on one organization such as CCHIT to certify EHRs will result in stagnation of innovation as they simply will not be able to keep up. Let’s also not forget that CCHIT certification is a fairly cumbersome and expensive process that has had little actual impact on EMR/EHR adoption, so why bother?  Maybe we need to look at self-certification models that support meaningful use of EHRs, thereby minimizing the burden on innovators and maximizing the options for providers.

Getting back to the beginning,

Leavitt may have been attempting to “set the record straight” but ultimately, his post does little to address primary concerns among many: CCHIT’s continued close relationship to a vendor advocacy organization HIMSS, nor how CCHIT will not stand in the way of innovation but promote such, nor how CCHIT can accelerate adoption and meaningful use of EHRs among clinicians.  Skipping over these critical questions and concerns does little to articulate the role that CCHIT may play in the future regarding the meaningful use of certified EHRs.

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3 comments on “CCHIT Attempts to Set Record Straight
  1. CCHIT reeks of yet another healthcare monopoly and yet another brick wall in the path of innovation.

    How is healthcare ever going to benefit from the innovation happening everywhere else, if it maintains these costly roadblocks? If someone were to introduce a new system based on a platform that’s new to healthcare, would CCHIT even be able to evaluate it properly?

    • John says:

      Claudio, your suspicions are correct, CCHIT would not be able to adequately respond to a completely new and innovative construct for HIT. EMR, EHR, whatever acronym you want to throw at it. They are set-up to test what has been in the market for years, not what is new.

  2. Interested Observer says:

    One of the largest vendors (Epic) which is CCHIT certified (which implies interoperability) claims on its web site to have over 150,000 doc’s using their system with over 70 million patient records.

    On their stimulus page they have a section on “connectivity? in which they say http://www.epicsystems.com/stimulus-index.php

    In the US our clients care for over 70 million patients with records interoperable via the Care Everywhere network.

    What you would assume is that if you bought a CCHIT certified product from the same vendor that you would be able to exchange records.

    Unless you buy the interface engine (Care Everywhere) and pay for your development team to link to other local Epic clients you have a stand alone system.

    As others have pointed out, it people are worried about the interlocking relationship between vendors via HIMSS and CCHIT why do we have the head of Epic Judy Faulkner sitting on the new ONC advisory board? The new administration is being played both by the old EMR vendors and now by new ones like Microsoft that don’t even have an EMR (they have a platform to host PHRs (personal – that require clinical data from an EMR0 as well as a piece of software that links different systems to one another. (and provides analytic).

    I wonder who has a vested interest in not having a single body be responsible for certification just as much as I worry about a vendor driven certification and now policy committee. Then again who else would be qualified to advice HHS then people in the industry? Docs? Analysts who are new to health care? Why is intel and microsoft holding a national tour to “educate providers on how to benefit from ARRA” when they don’t have an EMR?

    What for example is the relationship if any between the Obama Administration and IBM?Between Chilmark Research and Microsoft? Is there a strategy to discredit CCHIT as an agency or simply their work?

    Do these relationships discredit or strengthen the benefit to consumers? Should banks for example be regulated by people outside of the industry? Did Visa set up its rules for data exchange via an inside industry group? Its great to ask the questions about who’s agenda will get the most coverage. A small nonprofit with a largely volunteer staff like CCHIT or some of the huge IT firms that are trying to enter this space at the last minute? It sure looks like an unfair political campaign to me.

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "CCHIT Attempts to Set Record Straight"
  1. [...] Article John Moore, Chilmark Research, 27 May 2009 SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "CCHIT Attempts to Set Record Straight", url: "http://articles.icmcc.org/2009/05/28/cchit-attempts-to-set-record-straight/" }); [...]

  2. [...] post over on John Chilmark’s blog highlights a really interesting point about having only one EHR [...]

  3. [...] » CCHIT Attempts to Set Record Straight « Chilmark Research [...]

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Chilmark Research is the only industry analyst firm focusing solely on health IT. We combine proven research methodologies with intelligence and insight to provide cogent analyses of the emerging technologies that have the greatest potential to improve healthcare. We do not shy away from making tough calls, and are respected in the industry for our direct and thoughtful commentary.