Health IT reformers look forward smiling

By focusing the definition on what software does, they feel, the committee kept the health IT industry's HIMSS trade group, and the CCHIT certification group it created, at arms-length.

Health IT reformers were generally pleased with the results of the June 16 committee meeting on meaningful use.

By focusing the definition on what software does, they feel, the committee kept the health IT industry's HIMSS trade group, and the CCHIT certification group it created, at arms-length.

"David Blumenthal (right) is doing a terrific job," enthused David Kibbe, a consultant with the American Association of Family Physicians and a frequent contributor to The HealthCare Blog.

In fact, the requirements go beyond the capabilities of many packages currently certified by CCHIT, meaning a "badge" campaign, which I mentioned yesterday, might mislead buyers. On the other hand, Kibbe indicated, there are packages not certified by CCHIT that already meet the new standards.

Hospitals and clinics that bought solutions based on CCHIT certification, in other words, may require expensive upgrades to meet the new federal standards. Some who installed non-certified gear, on the other hand, may not need those upgrades.

The next key dates are July 14-15 when there will be meetings on who will actually do the certification of systems meeting the new federal guidelines. CCHIT could still win that gatekeeping power, but right now that outcome seems unlikely.  

It should be added that Mark Leavitt, who heads CCHIT, last month went directly after Kibbe with his own post to the Healthcare Blog.  The feud broke out while I was in China. The folks at e-Patients Net have a good rundown of the feud, and the issues involved.

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