Certification group issues last call

Health IT seal of approval?

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology will give the public a final opportunity to comment on its work to date before beginning the first certification reviews of health IT products for outpatient care.

The commission announced that it will post its certification criteria, inspection process, pilot test results and draft certification handbook on the commission’s Web site March 3, and it will accept comments through March 31.

The schedule calls for the commission to adopt the package at its April 24 meeting. “Commercial certification will be launched shortly thereafter,” the announcement states, “with the first certified vendors announced in late June.”

Mark Leavitt, the commission’s chairman, said work is under way on in-patient e-health records, the next phase of certification. The public can also comment on this phase during March.

The certification process is intended to reduce risks associated with the selection of health IT systems by having an independent third party, the commission, certify that products fulfill their promises in critical areas and that they are interoperable to some extent.

The commission, founded in 2004 by three major health IT associations, won a $2.7 million contract last fall from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to support its work.

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