On December 1, 2009, the Certification Commission for Health IT (CCHIT) announced that it has certified the first group of Electronic Health Record (EHR) products that meet preliminary federal recommendations for "meaningful use."  The importance of this to health care providers is they are eligible for incentive payments from the Medicare program beginning in 2011 under the stimulus package passed by Congress last spring for providers that become “meaningful users” of certified EHR technology.  However, health care providers are expected to have adopted and actively utilizing a certified EHR in compliance with the “meaningful use” definition or they will be subject to financial penalties under the Medicare program.

On Oct. 7, CCHIT launched two new programs designed to certify health IT systems that are likely to meet the stimulus law’s meaningful use requirements – CCHIT Certified® 2011 Comprehensive and Preliminary ARRA 2011.  Both programs inspect EHR technology for the against proposed Federal standards to support providers in qualifying for the 2011-2012 incentive payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Alisa Ray, CCHIT’s executive director, commented that “these first four health IT companies, demonstrating their compliance with the proposed Federal standards, are now able to offer certified products to providers who wish to purchase and implement EHR technology and achieve meaningful use in time for the 2011-2012 incentives. We’ve had about 25 applications in our 2011 programs and inspections are continuing. Look for additional announcements from these early applicants in the upcoming days and weeks.”

The product certified in the CCHIT Certified 2011 Comprehensive program is ABELMed EHR-EMR/PM, Version 11, by ABEL Medical Software Inc.

The Preliminary ARRA 2011 program is a modular, limited certification and inspects technology only against the Federal standards. It offers maximal flexibility for health IT companies, developers and providers in meeting ARRA 2011-2012 certification requirements.  The products certified in the Preliminary ARRA 2011 program are:

  • eHealth Made EASY, Version 3, by eHealth Made EASY, LLC, supporting 2 of 27 meaningful use objectives for eligible providers
  • eHealth Made EASY – PQRI Made Easy, Version 3, by eHealth Made EASY, LLC, supporting 2 of 24 meaningful use objectives for hospitals
  • KIS Track, Version 5.1, by Kaulkin Information Systems, supporting 2 of 27 objectives for eligible providers
  • Medios, Version 4.5, by IOS Health Systems, supporting 27 of 27 objectives for eligible providers

CCHIT said it plans to upgrade its criteria and re-evaluate its certification programs after federal officials release a final meaningful use definition in spring 2010.

Additional Information is available on the CCHIT web site