Since the first hospital in early 2009 reached Stage 7, the highest level on the HIMSS Analytics scale of electronic health records capabilities, all hospitals with that distinction have retained their status as top EHR leaders. Now, they’ll have to periodically re-earn the designation.

HIMSS Analytics has announced that the Stage 7 designation will be valid for three years, meaning the 219 hospitals at that stage must revalidate every three years. The process starts with hospitals that reached Stage 7 between 2009 and 2013, as these organizations will receive instructions for revalidation by the end of the year.

Hospitals that received Stage 7 designation since 2013 must go through the revalidation process in the year between the second year anniversary of the original year and its expiration. The revalidation requirement also will cover ambulatory facilities, starting with those who reached Stage 7 in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Revalidation in most cases will be paired-down process compared with the orginal process, according to HIMSS Analytics. “For the majority of organizations a one-person site visit should suffice,” said. “The exception may be if the organization has implemented a new core clinical vendor or changed ownership since its last validation. In those instances a full three-person site visit will be required.”

Healthcare organizations having reached Stage 7 on the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) in 2013 and earlier will receive notification and instructions about the Stage 7 revalidation process by year-end, HIMSS Analytics announced today. Going forward, the Stage 7 validation lifespan will be three years. All Stage 7 organizations wishing to revalidate will be required to complete the process in the year between the second year anniversary of the original validation and its expiration.

“For the majority of organizations a one-person site visit should suffice,” John Hoyt, executive vice president at HIMSS Analytics said in a statement. “The exception may be if the organization has implemented a new core clinical vendor or changed ownership since its last validation. In those instances a full three-person site visit will be required.”

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