Health and Human Services named three certification bodies within the same thirty day period: The Drummond Group, CCHIT and InfoGard. These organizations all test on the same requirements to verify that an Electronic Health Record (E.H.R.) system or an E.H.R. module meets the guidelines established by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). E.H.R. certifications started in September 2010 and will continue into 2011. A certification is good for 2011/2012.
For E.H.R. systems that focused in a single specialty (e.g. Pediatrics), these systems still need to meet the standards for all the criteria. Further information can be found in the final rule created by ONC. A vendor needs to work with an ONC approved certification body to confirm the terms and conditions of certification including the time-line that is agreeable to both parties. There are hundreds of Vendors starting the certification process now that the criteria is confirmed as well as the first three certification bodies have been named. Interesting that some of the large E.H.R. companies paid about 2x the cost of certification a year ago to one of the current certification bodies (CCHIT) anticipating that they would have certification first and this would be a competitive advantage. From the providers perspective, there is no difference to them if the E.H.R. is certified in October 2010 or March 2011.