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CCHIT Attempts to Set Record Straight

by John Moore | May 27, 2009

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.

Stay up to the minute.

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