HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA) Efforts Positively Impact Certification Process

On the eve of the first round of EHR certification, EHRVA marks significant contributions to the process undertaken by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).

(CHICAGO) May 2, 2006 As the first development milestone for an Electronic Health Records (EHR) certification framework is achieved, HIMSS EHRVA is proud to recognize the collaborative efforts of its members and other industry stakeholders who contributed to the creation of the ambulatory EHR certification process—a major milestone for the entire industry. While EHRVA vendor member companies provided extensive resources to staff the CCHIT workgroups, its legacy will be its role as the champion of public reviews of CCHIT's work-products. 

On the heels of an intensive 18-month dialogue on a topic that greatly affects those installing and using EHRs as well as the vendors that bring them to market, EHRVA is optimistic that the CCHIT framework can become an effective means of increasing the adoption of ambulatory EHRs. The effort to ensure a transparent, equitable and effective certification process must continue, and EHRVA urges all stakeholders to continue working to address critical points that remain unresolved at the launch point of this first round of product certification.

“Vendors support certification because we believe it will instill confidence in the marketplace. We have dedicated a large amount of time to ironing out the points that will make this process transparent, equitable and effective. We welcome the change that certification will bring about — and if you judge by our continual support for interoperability, standards and certification initiatives, you will find that EHRVA represents a very collaborative and progressive spirit among vendors,” said Charlene Underwood, EHRVA chairperson and Director, Government and Industry Relations for Siemens Medical Solutions.  “We need to treat certification as an evolving process and not an end-point. There are several process issues we will continue to work on with the stakeholders to improve the certification process.”

While adoption of HIT generally and EHR specifically currently is growing at a record pace, EHR vendors are scrutinizing the certification process in an effort to ensure provider acceptance and adoption. EHRVA has focused thousands of hours of effort participating in CCHIT workgroups and reviewing CCHIT certification work-products. The vendors association is motivated by a belief that EHR certification is vital for HIT adoption, as it is expected that future incentives, interoperability, and provider reimbursements may hinge on using certified EHR products.
Now that the first certification round is imminent, EHRVA will continue its advocacy efforts on behalf of its membership and their current and potential customers. Of particular emphasis will be issues of ongoing transparency, ensuring fair and balanced contracts between CCHIT and vendors, and supporting productive process management to yield quality certification results for the marketplace.

“As vendors, this is what we do — our businesses run on a model that prioritizes research and development, and this process is a collaborative extension of this model,” said Don Schoen, CEO and President of MediNotes Corporation. “We as an organization need to help continue this evolutionary process of certification which we hope ultimately will lead to accelerated usage of EHRs.”

EHRVA anticipates addressing outstanding issues at today's CCHIT Town Hall meeting, and via ongoing member collaboration in the coming months.

HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA) is a trade association of EHR vendors that joined together to lead the HIT industry in the accelerated adoption of electronic health records in hospital and ambulatory care settings in the US. Representing an estimated 90% of the installed EHR systems in the US, the association provides a forum for the vendor community to speak with a unified voice relative to standards development, the EHR certification process, interoperability, performance and quality measures, and other EHR issues as they become subject to increasing government, insurance and provider driven initiatives and requests. Membership is open to HIMSS corporate members with legally formed companies designing, developing and marketing their own commercially available EHRs with installations in the USA. The association, comprised of approximately 40 member companies, is a partner of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and operates as an organizational unit within HIMSS. For more information, visit http://www.himssehrva.org