Having a Stage 2/2014 certified EHR is REQUIRED for attestation for EHR incentives in 2014 even if you are attesting to Stage 1 but less than 10% of EHRs are ready. What happened? What can a practice do?
As of today, there are 126 EHRs certified as a Complete EHR for Stage 2/2014 according to http://oncchpl.force.com/ehrcert
Over 1,375 EHRs were certified as a Complete EHR for Stage 1. This means that only 9.2% of the EHRs certified for Stage 1 have been certified for Stage 2/2014.
- Some vendors have dropped back from certification as a Complete EHR to a Modular EHR.
- Some vendors have publicly stated that they will not pursue Stage 2/2014, such as ComChart: http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2013/12/05/open-letter-from-a-small-emr-vendor-to-our-customers-and-our-friends-in-washington/
- Other vendors are behind in rolling out Stage 2 or do not intend to certify for Stage 2 but have not stated so publicly.
- Some vendors own multiple EHR products and have elected to discontinue development on one or more of the products and migrate their customers to one of their other EHRs.
- Rather than certify older versions for Stage 2, many vendors require the customer to migrate to a later version and only certify the latest version.
- Some vendors appear to have gone out of business.
What can a practice do if you haven’t already purchased an EHR?
- It is clearly safer to purchase an EHR that is already Stage 2/2014 certified as a Complete EHR.
- Find out the costs for upgrades for ICD-10 and Stage 3 before you contract. You will be required to implement both and you should have contractual assurances up front regarding the cost.
- Are there contractual guarantees on the timing of ICD-10 and Stage 3 that have “teeth”, such as money back to you?
- What is the timing of new releases? This is particularly important if you purchase a client-server EHR where you may have to rely on the vendor for upgrades and they may get backed-up trying to implement upgrades for many clients.
- Does the vendor have multiple EHRs? History has shown that vendors typically consolidate their EHRs (such as Misys EMR into Allscripts). This could be a painful an expensive process.
What if you’re already using an EHR that is not certified for Stage 2/2014?
- Make sure your vendor is honoring commitments for Stage 2/2014 – do they owe you money?
- Assess the future viability of your product and your vendor – is it time to cut your losses and move on? This is particularly important if there are other reasons to hate your current EHR.
- Are they going to charge you to upgrade to Stage 2? If so, it might be time to move on anyway and find a vendor that will include future upgrades at no charge.
- Has the vendor promised you a date for Stage 2/2014? Will it give you enough time to certify for 2014? Is there meat (money) behind their promise? If the answer to any of these questions is “no” it is probably time to move on.
C Huddle – VP, Market Development