This acronym has been popping up ever more frequently within the last four years, and a growing number of us have been asking ourselves, “Should I care?”
The facts say that, yes, you definitely should. But they also say: not at the exclusion of sensibly doing your homework.
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) has gained a name for itself since its inception in 2005, and is currently supported by the Department of Health and Human Services. So what is the CCHIT? The CCHIT rates Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems by evaluating them against standards for security, functionality, and other important features.
As CCHIT certification becomes the seal of approval for EHR systems, companies that provide practice management systems will be driven to stay ahead of the curve. And, most likely, only a precious few will make the grade. It takes a strong, determined company with a solid foundation to invest the time and money it takes to develop their software to meet the stringent criteria of the CCHIT and the investment they require of their applicants.
The healthcare in our country is quickly shifting towards a global system: a network of patient information, accessible by providers everywhere with no more faxing, scanning, or waiting. The standardization of this certification will come riding on the coattails of our government’s decision to aggressively pursue EHR systems as a requirement, not just a wise decision by healthcare providers.
Users of CCHIT-certified software will also enjoy government subsidized incentives for joining the march towards an interconnected web of healthcare records. CCHIT will likely become the “AAA Card” for chiropractors, offering discounts and incentives from office and medical suppliers, insurers, and other vendors.
Although CCHIT evaluates a vast number of criteria, two that it does not measure are the product’s ease-of-use, and the quality of customer support provided by the software company itself. Some EHR systems may make up for their lack of certification by providing only the requirements needed by their customers, and by providing a customer support structure that far exceeds the benefits provided by the CCHIT-certified seal of approval.
Thus, potential buyers must still rely on word-of-mouth and the prevalence and growth of a company within the chiropractic community. In short, you must still ask your neighbors how they keep their grass so green.
Dr. Michael Failla is the President and Co-owner of Integrated Practice Solutions, the makers of ChiroTouch. Dr. Failla graduated from Life University College of Chiropractic in Atlanta, GA, and went on to run a highly successful chiropractic office in Seattle, WA, for 25 years. Dr. Failla sold his practice in 2007 and continues to promote health and wellness by helping chiropractors run streamlined and successful practices with more time for their patients and less time with their paperwork.