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The HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) posted a listing on their “Certified Health IT Product List” that reveals more than 2,500 decertified EHRs (Electronic Health Records) are marked for corrective action along with those with inactive certificates. Have you checked to see if your EHR or your EHR vendor is on this list? You should.

According to HHS:

“This list includes all health IT products that have had their status changed to an “inactive” status on the Certified Health IT Products List (CHPL). This may be because the developer no longer supports the product or for other reasons that are not in response to ONC-ACB surveillance, ONC direct review, or a finding of non-conformity.”

The HHS website reveals the increasing difficulties for healthcare practitioners like you face when using EHRs/EMRs. Not only must you comply with increasingly stringent HIPAA regulations, but you must also ensure that your EHR system interacts effectively with administrative software solutions.

Is Your EHR Certified By The HHS?

Certification of EHR technology assures that an EHR system offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to meet the meaningful use objectives for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

This is necessary so your healthcare providers and patients know that their EHR IT products and systems are secure, maintain data confidentially, and integrate correctly with other systems so you can securely share information.

Plus, the CMS EHR Incentive and Quality Payment Program mandate that you use certified EHRs. Their minimum requirements are noted in the following website: Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT). Make sure that your EHRs meet these standards.

How Does A Certified EHR Help Your Healthcare Organization?

The Health Certification Program assures you that an EHR system meets the technological capability, functionality, and security requirements adopted by HHS.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) oversees the Health IT Certification Program for EHRs and other IT products.

EHR Certification means that a system meets nationwide:

  • Health IT Standards
  • Implementation Specifications
  • Certification Criteria

Using a certified EHR will improve the coordination of your patients’ healthcare. A certified EHR system can send and receive clinical care summaries electronically while retaining the same meaning across various systems.

Why Is EHR Data Interoperability So Important?

When using a certified EHR, you’ll know that the system functions in accordance with user-centered design and interoperability standards. It’s essential that information transfers seamlessly.

The benefits of the interoperable exchange of data include:

  • Enhanced patient safety
  • Usability
  • Privacy
  • Security

Now that healthcare information has gone digital, hospitals and healthcare practices require EHR interoperability to function efficiently. Many hospitals are using at least 10 EHRs at a time. And according to HIMSS (the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), the average health system uses 18 different EHR vendors when considering all of their affiliated providers.

But how can health systems using 18 different EHR systems possibly meet HIPAA’s increasingly strict requirements for Meaningful Use?

Achieving interoperability among different EHR platforms is so difficult that the CMS is currently working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to design a more unified view of patient data that promotes better interoperability.

And the problem is so widespread that CMS is now focusing their efforts on improving the interoperability of EHRs. This is according to their website on Promoting Interoperability (PI):

“CMS is dedicated to improving interoperability and patients’ access to health information. To better reflect this focus, we are renaming the EHR Incentive Programs to the Promoting Interoperability (PI) Programs. Through this rulemaking, we are also streamlining the programs to reduce the time and cost required of providers to participate.

Stay tuned for more information. To find out more on how this rulemaking affects Medicare eligible clinicians participating in the Promoting Interoperability (formerly Advancing Care Information) performance category of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, visit the Quality Payment Program website at https://qpp.cms.gov/.”

Is Your EHR On The Government’s List Of Decertified Products?

One thing is sure – not all current EHR systems will meet increased HIPAA requirements for Meaningful Use. Nor will they have the stability healthcare providers need for instantaneous access to patient care information.

True interoperability will spark innovation and not just between EHR makers competing for the best of breed but, more importantly, among innovators that don’t even sell EHRs as health data starts to flow.

The HHS goes on to say:

“For further descriptions of the certification statuses, please consult the CHPL Public User Guide. For more information on how an inactive certificate may affect your attestation to the CMS EHR Incentive Programs, please consult the CMS FAQ. For additional information about how an inactive certificate may affect your participation in other CMS programs, please reach out to that program.”

To find EHR/EMR systems and modules that are certified for the Medicare and Medicaid PI Programs, visit the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) on the ONC website.

In the meantime, contact the EHR/EMR Specialists at Global Data Systems for more information about how you can ensure interoperability between your EHRs and health IT systems.

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