Lack of cer­ti­fied EHRs puts hos­pi­tals in a tough spot

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Rachel Z. Arndt

Health in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy ex­perts worry that a dearth of fed­er­ally cer­ti­fied prod­ucts could af­fect hos­pi­tals’ abil­i­ties to hit their mean­ing­ful use re­port­ing man­dates.

While the CMS’ pro­posed rule on the Medi­care Ac­cess and CHIP Reau­tho­riza­tion Act would grant physi­cians a year­long re­prieve from hav­ing to up­grade their elec­tronic health record sys­tems, hos­pi­tals must still move to the 2015 cer­ti­fied ver­sions of their plat­forms by yearend in or­der to meet re­port­ing re­quire­ments in the first part of 2018.

But there’s a catch: Ven­dors aren’t ready. As of June 20, only 74 prod­ucts—in­clud­ing some from Epic Sys­tems Corp. and Cerner Corp.—were cer­ti­fied un­der the 2015 Edi­tion Health IT Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Cri­te­ria, ac­cord­ing to the ONC’s Cer­ti­fied Health IT Prod­uct List.

Steve Pos­nack, di­rec­tor of the ONC’s Of­fice of Stan­dards and Tech­nol­ogy, how­ever, noted that some of the cer­ti­fied prod­ucts are among the most pop­u­lar and are there­fore used by many providers, adding that the need to make prod­ucts com­pli­ant with mean­ing­ful use and MACRA may have con­trib­uted to a de­lay in the de­vel­op­ment cy­cle.

So might have some of the new re­quire­ments, said Mari Sav­ickis, vice pres­i­dent of fed­eral af­fairs at the Col­lege of Health­care In­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment Ex­ec­u­tives. She pointed specif­i­cally to the ap­pli­ca­tion pro­gram­ming in­ter­face re­quire­ments as a chal­lenge. “That’s a fairly big jump,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, and it’s com­pli­cated. They need more time.”

Though many providers have their prod­ucts cer­ti­fied, “that’s not the end of the story,” said Pamela McNutt, chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer of Methodist Health Sys­tem, Dal­las. “You still have to in­stall it, and these up­grades are huge.”

Methodist re­cently switched to Epic, and the ver­sion in­stalled was al­ready cer­ti­fied. That’s for­tu­itous, McNutt said, be­cause im­ple­ment­ing a new EHR can take up to eight months or so for a hospi­tal sys­tem. Even physi­cians face month­s­long im­ple­men­ta­tion times.

“Even once you’ve got the soft­ware in­stalled, you have to ex­er­cise it,” she said.

CHIME and other provider groups are push­ing the CMS to give hos­pi­tals more time, as it is propos­ing to do for physi­cians.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.