EHR Partners Program FAQ

What is the EHR Partners Program?

The EHR Partners Program (EPP) is a College initiative developed as a service to members who are interested in purchasing an EHR system for their practices. One of the greatest barriers to EHR adoption is the financial risk to the practice; the EPP helps to lower that risk through information-sharing. ACP's EHR Partners are CCHIT certified EHR vendors that have agreed to share detailed product information through this program.

What does CCHIT certified mean?

CCHIT stands for the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology. CCHIT began certifying EHR systems in 2006. Certification validates a baseline of system functionality, interoperability and security. CCHIT certified EHR systems have been tested through a juried system that includes an independent (non-vendor) physician juror as well as attestation by desktop review. EHR vendors certify against an annual set of criteria with new criteria added and previous criteria modified each year. CCHIT certification lasts for three years, e.g., those who certified on 2006 criteria maintain that certification until 2009. CCHIT certifies systems in two categories, ambulatory EHR systems and in-patient EHR systems. ACP's EHR Partners Program focuses only on ambulatory EHR systems. There are currently over 100 ambulatory EHR vendors certified by CCHIT.

Who was asked to participate?

All vendors with a currently CCHIT-certified product when the application window was open from October-December of 2008 were asked to participate. All CCHIT certified products at the time of the application window received a letter inviting them to participate in the program. The changes seen in vendor CCHIT certification status will be reflected as part of the program's enrollment cycle.

Were all EHR vendors invited to participate?

The 2009 EPP focuses solely on EHR applications that have achieved 2006, 2007, 2008 certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT). While there are many non-certified EHRs in use, the College strongly recommends that physicians, who are entering the EHR arena for the first time or looking to upgrade an older system, consider a CCHIT-certified EHR.

How does the EHR Partners Program help the practicing physician in search of an EHR?

The EHR Partners Program is specifically designed to assist practicing physicians, particularly those who practice alone or in small groups, with the resource-intensive process of product selection and review. The EPP enables physicians to navigate more efficiently through the selection and evaluation process by providing several sources of information on each participating EHR vendor. In addition to sharing their product information for review, each EHR vendor partner also agreed to share pricing information.

Why isn't a particular EHR in the program?

ACP invited all vendors of CCHIT-certified EHRs to participate in the ACP program. We do not know the specific reasons why any particular vendor chose not to participate. ACP does not exclude EHRs as long as the product is CCHIT-certified and the vendor agrees to the terms of participation.

One of the EHRs listed is not a good one. Why didn't you exclude it from the program?

ACP does not endorse or promote a particular EHR over another. Furthermore, ACP does not exclude products, as long as they have current CCHIT-certification, and the vendor agrees to the terms of participation. The goal of the EHR Partners Program is to provide access to information about these products that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. To support better decision-making, ACP posts membership satisfaction data for each of these products where we have received a sufficient number of responses. Additionally, the reviews provided in the program are both positive and negative in nature.

What information was used to evaluate participating EHR systems?

Four sources of information were used when available:

  1. EHR vendor responses to a Request for Information (RFI) - a tool typically used as part of the technology purchasing process.
  2. ACP member responses to an EHR satisfaction survey that focused primarily on usability and implementation support.
  3. A scripted demonstration of the product based on a patient visit.
  4. A reference site visit to a physician practice with an EHR partner installation.

How do I use the pricing information?

Each EHR Partner was asked to provide a set of pricing for members. The goal of having the EHR vendors supply this information is to provide members with a comparison of costs for a standardized configuration and set of functionality across EHR Partners. Any differences from the standard configuration that the vendor identified in the submission materials are noted. Variations in final purchase price for any member will depend on the specific components and services that are selected for implementation.