EHR Certification in LTPAC
Certification plays an important role in the adoption and utilization of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in LTPAC. EHR certification consists of both a checklist of minimum functional criteria and a testing process to verify EHRs meet the criteria.
Types of certification
There are two distinct types of certification available for LTPAC:
- Comprehensive certification – CCHIT Certified ® 2011
- Meaningful use certification – ONC-ATCB Certified 2011/2012
Comprehensive certification (CCHIT Certified ® 2011)
Comprehensive certification is defined by the industry and describes everything an EHR should do for an LTPAC provider. The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has developed comprehensive criteria for LTPAC providers. While LTPAC encompasses many care settings, the criteria are geared toward:
- Certified home health agencies
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Hospice agencies
- Inpatient rehab facilities
- Long-term acute care hospitals
The criteria consist of core requirements that pertain to all of the above care settings. In addition, an EHR may certify for certified home health and/or skilled nursing facility via specific add-on criteria. A certified EHR must meet 100% of the core requirements that pertain to these care settings and 100% of the home health or skilled nursing add-ons if applicable. More information on CCHIT certification for LTPAC can be found at:
- http://www.cchit.org/workgroups/long-term-and-post-acute-care for a process description
- http://www.cchit.org/certify/2011/cchit-certified-2011-long-term-post-acute-care-ltpac-ehr for the criteria and testing process
Meaningful use certification (ONC-ATCB Certified 2011/2012)
Meaningful use certification is defined by the government and is the basis for adoption incentives for hospitals and physicians. These adoption incentives are not available for LTPAC providers at this time. However, LTPAC EHRs may certify for any specific meaningful objectives that apply. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) within HHS defined the criteria and an Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ATCB)
More information on ONC-ATCB certification can be found at: http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/25_Certification.asp
Why is certification important?
Both CCHIT and meaningful use certification require products to have the ability to share information with other EHRs utilizing industry standards. In addition, certified EHRs provide buyer assurance that the product has been independently tested to meet or exceed the established criteria. Finally, should adoption incentives become available for LTPAC providers, it is likely that certification will be required to participate.