Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT)
The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) is a nonprofit foundation established in 2004. In 2006 CCHIT began to certify electronic health record technology.
The mission of the CCHIT is to "accelerate the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology by creating a credible, efficient certification process".
CCHIT is "an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the public mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology" . CCHIT was founded by a consortium of academic and professional health information technology organizations . CCHIT received extensive funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services to "develop and evaluate the certification criteria and inspection process for EMRs and the networks through which they operate". 
To help physicians, hospitals and other providers understand the Certification Commission’s criteria for electronic health records (EHRs), the CCHIT makes available a Concise Guide to Certification, which provides a comparison to the Commission’s most recent criteria and demonstrates how certification of EHRs to these criteria ensures that they are a qualified electronic health record under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The CCHIT criteria will be further adjusted to meet the final 2011 meaningful use objectives required by the US Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) when the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC/HHS) publishes the criteria and standards needed to support those objectives.
The commission was established by America Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), The National Alliance for Health Information Health Technology, The Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in 2004 as a Limited Liability Corporation before becoming an independent self sustaining organization in 2007. The organization created the certification criteria through a consensus process of stakeholders from various clinical, technology, vendor, government and standards organizations.
As of now, the products certified by the commission fall under the following categories:
- Ambulatory EHR
- Behavioural Health EHR
- Emergency Department EHR
- Enterprise EHR
- ePrescribing Module
- Inpatient EHR
- Long Term and Post Acute Care EHR
- Stark and Anti-Kickback Exemption
On January 19, 2010, CCHIT announced significant updates and changes to their certification process in Response to ARRA and HITECH legislation. The organization press release is located at: http://www.cchit.org/media/news/2010/01/commission-updates-certification-programs-new-hhs-rules
On August 30, 2010, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) authorized CCHIT as a Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB)to certify that electronic health records (EHRs) are capable of meeting the criteria to support meaningful use and qualify eligible providers and hospitals for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
On Dec. 14, 2010 The CCHIT announced the names of appointees to its board of trustees and named eleven commissioners. Details can be found at http://www.cchit.org/media/news/2010/12/certification-commission-names-new-2011-trustees-and-commissioners
The EHR Alternative Certification for Healthcare Providers or "EACH™" process was developed by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®). An EHR is an electronic health record or system. The required certification of EHR systems is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) EHR Incentive Program. ARRA requires hospitals and providers to demonstrate the meaningful use of a certified EHR in order to receive an incentive payment. The adoption of a certified EHR is the first step of the incentive program.
The EACH process is considered an alternative to the standard CCHIT certification or certification by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB). Due to the limitations of the certification model for vendors, in that many hospitals and health systems do not just have one EHR product or vendor, the EACH process is an alternative to EHR certification. The EACH process was created to close the gap for hospitals and providers that have a mix of EHR technology, some of which may be certified and other old, uncertified systems or home-grown EHR systems.
The EACH process has three phases: preparation, readiness and certification. The first phase, preparation, requires the hospital or provider to attend an online orientation program, which includes an introduction to the EACH online community. During the first phase, the hospital or provider would then create a certification team and prepare for the self-assessment performed in the next phase. Readiness, the second phase, involves the completion of a self-assessment and learning program. The readiness phase include site inventory and a gap analysis. This will show the reasons why the EHR did not met the certification criteria for the CCHIT or ONC-ATCB. Finally, the readiness phase provides the hospital or provider with a toolkit on interoperability and test scripting for the certification phase. The final phase, certification, requires a scheduled inspection by a CCHIT tester once the hospital or provider is ready for certification. The inspection is web-based, testing the EHR on ONC criteria and the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) test procedures. Once the test is complete, the CCHIT sends the results to the ONC. If the EHR is certified, it will be listed on the "Certified Health IT Product List" for the CCHIT.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. [Online]. [cited 2011 May 22]. Available from: URL https://www.cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms/. Certification Commission for Health Information Technology. [Online]. [cited 2011 May 22]. Available from: URL http://each.cchit.org/web/each/home.
Submitted by (Aurae Beidler)