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Where We Stand with ONC 2015 Edition Certifications

With the launch of 2015 Edition certification testing back in April 2016, we are now nearing the two year mark of this 2015 Edition certification period in health IT. With the new year here, it would be a good time to take a fresh look at what is currently certified on the CHPL for 2015 Edition. Over the years, I have tracked the state of EHR certification at various points to give us some historical perspective, and I want to see where we stand and perhaps guess at where we will wind up. As was noted several times here and here, the rollout of EHR systems certified to 2015 Edition has been significantly behind the respective 2011 Edition and 2014 Edition product certifications, and the current numbers continue that trend.

As of January 18, there are 226 2015 Edition certification entries on the CHPL. However, a significant number are either withdrawn by their developer or simply a duplicate product listed with different versions (e.g., vs 1.2 and 1.3 of the same product). If you strip those out, you arrive at approximately 150 unique products entries on the CHPL from approximately 110 different developers.

To contrast that with a similar time frame for the 2014 Edition program, by January 2015 there were approximately 780 unique products certified on 2014 Edition by over 550 different developers which means the pace of certification is down by a factor of 5.

This is usually the place I put in my caveat that I am aware of many other developers who are nearly done or more than halfway complete with their testing so their certification is not too far away. Still, the numbers are obviously significantly smaller than before.

Of the unique products, a little under a half would be classified as the equivalent of the old “Complete EHR” in terms of having in themselves all necessary criteria to qualify for CEHRT status in the CMS Quality Program and be used for eligible clinician submission. The rest are EHR Modules with few certified modules which would need to be used along side other certified health IT systems, like a HISP or patient portal or CQM analytics or other types of systems, to collectively meet the CEHRT definition. This nearly 50% ratio is in line with historical numbers from both 2011 Edition and 2014 Edition.

Of the niche EHR modules, the most numerous appears to be the CQM-focused systems (certified only on the 315.c.2-c.3 criteria) with around 20 unique certified products or almost 1/5th of of the total number of unique certified products. 16 or so are patient portals (certified in 315.e.1 criterion) are certified, and we have 9 of the unique certified products are HISPs (certified on 315.h.2)

Almost all the major EHR developers in terms of those with large number of users and high volume participation in the CMS programs are currently certified. In looking at the actual products certified, it is mid-size and smaller developers which are not there, at least not yet.

It is also noteworthy that Drummond Group now dominates the certification market share with approximately 70% share with ICSA at 20% and InfoGard/UL at 10%.

Where do we think we will wind up in terms of total certified 2015 Edition products? With 2014 Edition, we eventually had around 1200 unique products and 900 unique vendors which made the pace at the two year mark to be around 2/3rds of the way to the final total. Let’s presume the difficulty of 2015 Edition has suppressed the pace more than 2014 Edition, and the next 18 months will have a higher growth rate than with 2014 Edition. If you assume we are at a 50% or even 40% mark, that puts the final numbers to be around 300 to 400 unique products certified to 2015 Edition. Frankly, that number seems more realistic for the current health IT market.

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