Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology
The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the public mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology. The Commission has been certifying electronic health record technology since 2006 and is approved by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as an Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB). The CCHIT Certified program is an independently developed certification that includes a rigorous inspection of an EHR’s integrated functionality, interoperability and security using criteria developed by CCHIT’s broadly representative, expert work groups. These products may also be certified in the ONC-ATCB certification program.
CCHIT was founded in 2004 with support from three leading industry associations in healthcare information management and technology: the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology[dead link] (the Alliance). In September 2005, CCHIT was awarded a 3-year contract by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and evaluate the certification criteria and inspection process for EHRs and the networks through which they interoperate. In October 2006, HHS officially designated CCHIT as a Recognized Certification Body (RCB). In July 2010, HHS published new rules for recognizing testing and certification bodies, scheduled to take effect when it named the new bodies. In September 2010, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) of HHS named CCHIT again under these new rules. CCHIT is an ONC Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB).
- Reduce the risk of Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) investment by physicians and other providers
- Ensure interoperability (compatibility) of HIT products
- Assure payers and purchasers providing incentives for electronic health records (EHR) adoption that the ROI will be improved quality
- Protect the privacy of patients' personal health information.
Announcements of CCHIT Certified Products
- On July 18, 2006, CCHIT released its first list of 20 certified ambulatory EMR and EHR products 
- On July 31, 2006, CCHIT announced that two additional EHR products had achieved certification.
- On October 23, 2006, CCHIT released its second list of 11 certified vendors.
- On April 30, 2007, CCHIT released its third list of 18 certified vendors.
- On November 16, 2009, CCHIT released its initial draft criteria for Behavioral Health, Clinical Research, and Dermatology EHRs, with expected final publication available July 2010.
The Commission is currently developing a special program for hospitals wishing to certify legacy, customized or self-developed EHR products in the ONC-ATCB 2011/2012 program. The program called the EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals, or EACH, is scheduled to open in December 2010. The Commission is also planning to launch CCHIT Certified programs for EHRs used in Clinical Research, Oncology and Women's Health (obstetrics component) in 2011.
The Commission, chaired by Karen Bell, M.D., M.M.S, is currently composed of 21 members each serving two-year terms.
Certified EHR products benefit many interested groups and individuals:
- Physicians, hospitals, health care systems, safety net providers, public health agencies and other purchasers of HIT products, who seek quality, interoperability, data portability and security
- Purchasers and payers – from government to the private sector – who are prepared to offer financial incentives for HIT adoption but need the assurance of having a mechanism in place to ensure that products deliver the expected benefits
- Quality improvement organizations that seek out an efficient means of measuring that criteria have been assessed and met
- Standards development and informatics experts that gain consensus on standards
- Vendors who benefit from having to meet a single set of criteria and from having a voice in the process
- Healthcare consumers, ultimately the most important stakeholders, who will benefit from a reliable, accurate and secure record of their health
CCHIT and its volunteer workgroups strive to fairly represent the interests of each of these diverse groups in an open forum, communicating the progress of its work and seeking input from all quarters. CCHIT has received the endorsements of a number of professional medical organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the Physicians' Foundation for Health Systems Excellence and Physicians' Foundation for Health Systems Innovation.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (October 26, 2006): HHS Officially Recognizes Certification Body to Evaluate Electronic Health Records
- Public postings of CCHIT work products for the ambulatory domain
- Public postings of CCHIT work products for the inpatient domain
- CCHIT to Expand Electronic Health Record Certification to Some Specialties (November 28, 2006)
- CCHIT: Certifying EHR for Specialty Medicine and Special Care Settings
- Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (July 18, 2006): CCHIT Announces First Certified Electronic Health Record Products Retrieved July 26, 2006
- Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (July 31, 2006):CCHIT Announces Additional Certified Electronic Health Record Products Retrieved July 31, 2006
- CCHIT Announces New Certified Electronic Health Record Products (October 23, 2006): CCHIT Announces New Certified Electronic Health Record Products
- CCHIT Announces New Certified Electronic Health Record Products (April 30, 2007): CCHIT Announces New Certified Electronic Health Record Products