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'Designated test EHR' program proving a challenge for providers

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The "designated test EHR" program is underway, but providers seem to be running into problems with it, according to a new article in Healthcare IT News.

Measure 3 of Meaningful Use Stage 2's transition-of-care objective requires that eligible professionals and eligible hospitals either conduct one or more successful electronic exchanges of a summary-of-care document with a recipient that uses EHR technology designed by a different developer, or conduct one or more successful tests with a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services designated test EHR during the reporting period.

The test program launched in January, with Meditech and McKesson as the first two EHR developers named "CMS designed test EHRs." CMS added iPatientCare as a third test vendor this month, and is looking to add more vendors to the program.

More than 500 providers have signed up to participate in the tests, but they're confused by the process and may not be accessing government-provided guidance that would help them, even though the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has since simplified the registration process and made additional provider guidance available on the program website.

"We've been surprised by the lack of understanding on the part of eligible providers in terms of what they have to do to complete the testing process," John Valutkevich, manager of interoperability initiatives for Meditech, said in the article. "It's slowing us down."

Designated test EHRs are registered on a software system called, "EHR Randomizer" which matches a provider randomly to a test EHR designed by a different EHR technology.

Data exchange has come under fire in recent weeks, with the Government Accountability Office chastising the U.S. Department of Heath & Human Services for lack of strategy and milestone to measure progress. Lack of interoperability was cited as a major reason why many physicians were unhappy with their EHR systems.

To learn more:
- read the article
- access the website

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