Two veteran industry stakeholder organizations--the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission--are teaming to develop an accreditation program for physician practice management systems.

WEDI has championed a number of health information technology initiatives since its inception more than two decades ago, most recently laying out a framework for the next generation of health information exchange. The organization also acts as an advisory body to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

EHNAC offers more than a dozen programs to accredit a variety of transactions processing technology and services operating in the industry. But they haven’t accredited practice management systems in the past, nor are the systems part of the electronic health records meaningful use program certification program.

The new Practice Management System Accreditation Program will confirm that software submitted for accreditation meets the functional requirements that practices need, complies with HIPAA privacy, security and transactions processing rules, as well as Affordable Care Act requirements, and that the vendor follows best practices for technical performance, business processes and resource management. “Through this partnership, both WEDI and EHNAC hope to ensure that the industry maintains a common baseline that all PMS vendors will achieve,” says Devin Jopp, CEO of WEDI. The organizations estimate there are more than 400 types of physician practice management platforms being used in the nation.

The Medical Group Management Association is praising the new accreditation effort. “We are hopeful that this program will allow physician practices to take advantage of the many administrative simplification standards and operating rules in order to streamline operations, protect data and avoid diverting resources away from patients,” according to an MGMA statement. The association further urges vendors to embrace the accreditation program to support transformation in the industry.

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