Commission Certifies Electronic Records Products
The federally funded, not-for-profit Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology on Tuesday certified the first electronic health record products from 19 companies, USA Today reports. The certified products this year must be able to allow doctors to enter orders for electronic prescriptions and record laboratory results and next year must be able to transmit the data to pharmacies or receive results electronically from labs.
Further, certification means that the software must contain certain data, have security measures for the data and be able to work with other products to facilitate data sharing, USA Today reports.
Physicians purchasing the products, made by companies such as GE Healthcare and Allscripts, are less likely to find that the products will not work with other EHR systems or that they will become obsolete in the next few years, commission Chair Mark Leavitt said (Schmit, USA Today, 7/19). Leavitt added that the commission certified 18 products and is still testing two products.
Other products could receive certification later this month, according to Leavitt. Leavitt said that the commission will certify health information technology products on three phases: outpatient records, such as those approved Tuesday; inpatient records, which is planned for 2007; and shared networks, which is planned for 2008 (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 7/18).
Only 14% to 17% of doctors currently use electronic medical records. The products cost about $20,000 per doctor to implement, and studies show that it takes several years for hospitals to benefit financially, USA Today reports.
RAND has estimated that the U.S. health system would save $81 billion or more just one year after implementing EHRs.
HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said that EHRs will improve health care, decrease medical errors and reduce costs, adding that the adoption of such a system is the "most important thing happening in health care" (USA Today, 7/19).