Meaningful Use, HHS, AAP, You Name It!

After today's post, I am going to return with some really cool benchmark data (the sort of topic I prefer), but the news about EHRs is coming fast and furiously. My apologies for the length of the post.

First, from the AAP:

Thank you to everyone who helped promote the Webinar over the last few days. For those who were not able to join, we thought it went very well and the responses from membership is overall very positive. Final attendance to the Webinar was 318!

Since it is August recess, we decided against a formal federal update today, but we did want to share the presentation from last night...  We have posted it to the Members Center Federal Affairs page, and we will be uploading the corresponding audio within the next few days.

Finally, in addition to the questions we covered last night, we are reviewing all other questions that were submitted in advance and via the Webinar, and we will be following up with everyone in the next few days.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

I've read the PDF in question and, if you are a pediatrician, I encourage you to get it and read it.  It's a 4 minute read.  It covers the bases.

Next,a great summary of the latest HHS position of certification, CCHIT, etc., from

It's clear from Friday’s excellent recommendations
to HHS by the Certification and Adoption Workgroup of the HIT Policy
Committee that they want major changes made to EHR certification. Some
of the high points:


  • HHS certification (notice they didn’t call it CCHIT certification) is not intended to be a seal of approval.
  • A new certification process should be developed that focuses on
    Meaningful Use rather than specific functionality points (that change
    will let specialty EMR vendors certify their products).
  • Certification should include all privacy and security policies that are in ARRA and HIPAA.
  • New highly detailed interoperability and data exchange specs should be created.
  • “Test harnesses” should be created so that providers can test their own software.
  • Multiple certification organizations should be allowed, with NIST accrediting them.
  • ONC should define certification criteria, not the organizations performing the certification testing.
  • Certification criteria will be updated no more frequently than once
    every two years and certification should be good for four years.
  • “Lock down” requirements should be eliminated to level the playing field for open source systems.
  • Since Meaningful Use definition is imminent, HHS should create a preliminary certification that would be valid through 2011.
  • Interesting quotes: “There has been criticism that CCHIT is too
    closely aligned with HIMSS or with vendors. While we did not see any
    evidence that vendors were exerting undue influence on CCHIT, we also
    understand that the appearance of a conflict is important to address …
    Most vendors advocated for a minimal approach to certification,
    complaining that CCHIT has ‘hijacked their development effort’ and that
    they are developing features/functions that nobody will use.”

The takeaway: if the recommendations are accepted, CCHIT’s role will
be diminished and shared with other certification bodies, none of which
will be allowed to create certification criteria; certification will
move away from a detailed product design to focus instead of how EHR
products are used; and CCHIT cannot shake its reputation for being
controlled by a few big vendors and HIMSS. It’s pretty clear that CCHIT
may well have an ongoing role in the government’s HIT policies, but not
at the level of influence it has enjoyed until now. Finally, someone
says no to HIMSS.

Finally, PCC has been working hard on a series of interview pieces among "connected" pediatricians about these issues.  I won't post the entire article here, but we have some "meaningful" quotes from notables such as Drs. Bill Zurhellen, Andy Spooner, and Mort Wasserman.  Read on!