04 Mar New criteria facilitates EHR adoption in small, ambulatory physician practices
SCHAUMBURG., The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT)), the federally recognized body for testing and certifying electronic health records (EHRs), has announced it will develop dermatology-specific functionality criteria beginning in 2009. The CCHIT’s decision was in part a response to an application from the American Academy of Dermatology with support from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Telemedicine Association, the Medical Dermatology Society, and the Society for Investigative Dermatology as well as overwhelming support from the dermatology community and other key stakeholders.
“Beginning in 2006, CCHIT has placed a ‘seal of approval’ on physician office-based EHR products to indicate that the system has met rigorous functionality, interoperability and security criteria for primary care, child health, and cardiology. The American Academy of Dermatology is pleased that the unique needs of dermatologists — who use digital images and body mapping to track patient health — will be recognized,” said dermatologist C. William Hanke, MD, MPH, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology. “This will be a service to the health care community as it continues to transition to a system that relies on electronic health records and the smooth and secure interchange of data. Dermatologists are committed to helping create functional criteria and technical elements that also will help many different physician specialties.”
CCHIT will appoint a work group of volunteer providers, payers, health IT vendors and other stakeholders to define those functions that will best help dermatologists enhance patient care quality and safety, improve practice efficiency, participate in clinical research and maintain board certification. In addition to spurring EHR adoption by dermatologists, developing dermatology-specific certification criteria has the potential to facilitate EHR care coordination between and among dermatologists and non-dermatologist physicians in various practice settings. CCHIT is expected to launch the dermatology-specific EHR certification program in 2010.
EHR systems refer to individual patients’ medical records in a digital format. These systems aid with accessing clinical information that can enhance patient care by helping to prevent medical errors, improve quality and facilitate clinical research. EHRs have grown in popularity amongst all physicians including dermatologists. However, barriers such as affordability, reliability, and whether the product will communicate with other electronic systems have kept many physicians from fully embracing these systems.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a role in formulating socioeconomic policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 15,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org.