According to a RAND Corporation study, America's healthcare system could save more than $81 billion annually and improve the quality of healthcare if it were to broadly adopt electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
But according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, less than a quarter of US office-based physicians utilize full or partial EMR systems. And only 9.3% of those practices use systems that include all four of the functions basic to an EMR system: e-prescribing, test ordering, test results reporting, and physician notes.
Physicians may be slow to adopt EMR due to confusion about choosing the right system for their practice and uncertainty about how to evaluate such systems. A nonprofit organization, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), can help.
CCHIT is a recognized certification body for electronic health records and their networks, and an independent, voluntary, private-sector initiative. Its mission is to accelerate the adoption of health information technology by creating an efficient, credible, and sustainable certification program.
The Commission evaluates EMR systems in 41 categories of functionality, 48 areas of security and reliability, and 27 criteria for interoperability. In 1 year, more than 80 products have been certified. Physicians can use these criteria to choose a system that helps reduce administrative costs and also is capable of measuring and reporting quality indicators for pay-for-performance incentive programs.
For a list of the EMR products certified thus far, visit the Commission's website: http://www.cchit.org/.