Free software that can import data, then calculate, display, and export electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) is now certified as an inpatient electronic health record module under the 2014 Edition of the EHR meaningful use program.

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology was the certifying agent for the software, called popHealth for Hospitals, version 1.0. The software originally was developed in 2010 by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and available to the open source community and others at http://projectpophealth.org. The latest version of popHealth can be downloaded, but the certified version is not yet posted online.

"ONC is working to ensure that popHealth flourishes as a useful tool for providers, health information exchanges, states, and others," wrote John Rancourt, public health analyst for ONC's Office of Health Information Exchange, in a March 20 blog.  "This is why ONC originally created popHealth and why the agency is supporting the transfer of the tool’s stewardship to the open source community."

States can now use popHealth as part of their strategy for accepting electronic clinical quality measure submissions, as required under Meaningful Use Stage 2. According to Rancourt, Wyoming Medicaid has incorporated the tool into its EHR Incentive Program attestation system. Northwestern Medicine at Northwestern University, which took the open source code, refined it, tested it, and then ushered it through certification as an EHR module, has used the tool as part of its enterprise data warehouse, he said.

Though Rancourt described popHealth as a simple data importer, user interface, and data exporter, he said "it is highly sophisticated and versatile because it is standards-driven and it leverages the same quality measure engine as Cypress, which is ONC’s open source tool for certifying eCQMs within EHRs for Meaningful Use."

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