5 Frequently Asked Questions about 2015 Edition EHR Certification

Brett Paepke, OD

Director of ECP Services, RevolutionEHR

What is CEHRT?
Since 2011, EHR software vendors have been held to the requirement of becoming “certified EHR technology” (CEHRT) to enable health care providers to attest to various payment programs. This certification process started with Meaningful Use and has moved into MIPS. Your EHR vendor has an obligation to maintain its CEHRT status for you to be paid in the future pay-for-performance systems — from MIPS, to others — that will arise from private payers.

The most recent standard for CEHRT was originally intended to be required for 2015, which means that the most modern CEHRT status attainable is called “2015 Edition CEHRT”. In reality, however, most CEHRT is presently 2014 Edition, a status RevolutionEHR has held for a number of years. Looking forward, RevolutionEHR has already begun the behind-the-scenes work to achieve 2015 Edition requirements

Why is it necessary for my EHR to be 2015 Edition CEHRT certified?
In short, functionality that improves activities specific to the delivery of eye care and allows providers to participate in quality reporting programs tied to their reimbursements is critically important. The 2015 Edition certification process ‘levels’ the EHR landscape by ensuring that systems can support the same capabilities, can communicate with one another and, in turn, can contribute to improved patient care. An EHR without 2015 Edition certification and, perhaps more importantly its customers, will find themselves on the outside of healthcare systems looking in.

What are the goals of 2015 Edition CEHRT?
The stated goals of 2015 Edition CEHRT include:

  • Improve interoperability
  • Facilitate data access and exchange
  • Ensure privacy and security capabilities
  • Improve patient safety
  • Reduce health disparities
  • Use the certification program to support the care continuum
  • Improve the reliability and transparency of certified health IT
  • Support Stage 3 criteria for EHR Incentive Program and MIPS

What is the significance of 2015 Edition CEHRT for health care providers?
Certification standards aim to have direct implications for providers and their patients, including:

    Financial significance

    • 2015 Edition CEHRT is required for Stage 3 participation in MIPS and the EHR Incentive Program (bonus money available through 2021 for docs in the Medicaid arm of the incentive program)

    Improved coordination of care through data sharing

    • Updated language, content, and transfer standards (i.e. SNOMED, C-CDA, etc.) ensure that certified technologies can communicate properly with one another.
      • A product that is not 2015 Edition certified might not be able to send patient data back and forth with a system that hasn’t achieved that certification
      • Lack of communication means inefficiency, harder process for continuity of care, etc.
      • Stage 3 will grade providers on sending, receiving, and incorporating C-CDA files (hard to do if your system isn’t speaking the same language as everyone else)

    Enhanced patient care

    • Allow incorporation of patient-generated health data (i.e. home IOP monitoring data could be submitted by patient and become an official part of the medical record)
    • Increased granularity of demographics (race, ethnicity, etc) could allow clinicians to filter patient care data with finer detail

    Greater patient access = greater engagement = better outcomes

    • Patients will be able to “collect” their clinical data from their various providers via an app on their mobile device or computer
    • No longer a need to log into multiple provider portals to retrieve information
    • Enhanced patient perception of practices that provide this ability

    Enhanced data safety/security

    • Increased security expectations of 2015 CEHRT removes responsibility from clinician to ensure that they possess technology certified to proper standards

When does my EHR need to be 2015 Edition CEHRT certified?
Based on 2018 final rules, EHR vendors will provide the greatest flexibility to their customers by having 2015 Edition CEHRT available during 2018. While both Advancing Care Information in MIPS and Meaningful Use outside of MIPS allow 90 day performance periods in 2018 using either 2014 or 2015 Edition CEHRT, MIPS would allow clinicians bonus points in the Advancing Care Information performance category if they participate with 2015 Edition software.

With that in mind, RevolutionEHR will undergo its certification standard testing within 2018, with updates implemented automatically for all RevolutionEHR users, at no cost, via rhythmic cloud-based software releases.

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