A recent poll from IT consultancy CapSite reveals some deep levels of confusion around EHR certification, the cornerstone of qualifying for meaningful use incentive money. Some 800 group practices answered questions about their understanding and perception of what certification is, and if this poll is any indication, the feds have a big job of education on their hands. While 90 percent of respondents understand the value of certification, just over half believed—falsely—that CCHIT certification is required to qualify for any stimulus money. And nearly 70 percent did not know there would be alternatives to CCHIT certification.

As it stands today, there is no official certification body, but Chicago-based CCHIT (Certification Commission for Health Information Technology) has applied to become one. And here’s where the story gets a bit convoluted. In fact, CCHIT has applied to be one of the government’s “temporary” certifying organizations, an interim step before a permanent certification program takes effect in 2012.  In addition, some 30-plus other organizations have made similar applications, responding to the government’s call for proposals spelled out in its dubiously named “final rule for temporary certification.”

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