Certifying Health IT: Let’s Set the (Electronic Health) Record Straight

Mark LeavittThe Stimulus bill catapulted health IT – previously the domain of clinicians with a passion for applying  technology to improve healthcare – onto the national stage.  When you inject billions of taxpayer dollars, politics inevitably comes with it.  There have been valid observations that CCHIT’s approach needs to change in this new world, and I wholeheartedly agree.  But I’m stunned by the level of dishonesty a few have stooped to in a desperate attempt to toss aside years of work by hundreds of public-spirited contributors.  Perhaps they want to bypass the challenge of supplying robust electronic health records and re-educating clinicians to use them meaningfully in transforming care, and just get unfettered access to some stimulus dough. 

For months, I’ve been “turning the other cheek” to Dr. David Kibbe because I believe in devoting my energy to solving problems rather than to criticizing other people or worrying about what others think of me.  But his repeated use of falsehoods and innuendo to attack CCHIT have found an audience in the national media, reaching a level that can no longer be ignored.  By implication, he demeans the integrity of everyone who has contributed to that work – and I must rise to their defense.

David, in your most recent quote for the  Washington Post, you called CCHIT a “vendor-founded, -funded and -driven organization.”  So let’s take a look at the Commissioners, in chronologic order of service, who have served since our founding in 2004 — people who have been at the core of an organization you claim to be tainted:

Martin Harris MD, Doug Henley MD (whoops, your boss!), John Hummel, Sam Karp, Charles Kennedy MD, Graham King (vendor), Jane Metzger, Susan Postal, Wes Rishel, John Tooker MD, Reed Tuckson MD, Andy Ury MD (vendor), Abha Agrawal MD, Richard Atkin (vendor), Stephen Badger, David Bates MD, Karen Bell MD, Ned Calonge MD, Jane Delgado PhD, Suzanne Delbanco,  Jeff Hillebrand, Chris MacManus, Denni McColm, Susan Miller RN, Jim Morrow MD (signed up with a vendor recently, so stepping down), Jonathan Perlin MD (big trouble — the scandal spreads to the new Standards Committee), Andrea Gelzer MD,  Michael Ubl, Andy Wiesenthal MD, Jonathan White (AHRQ apparently in cahoots too),  Steve Arnold MD (vendor),  Rick Benoit (vendor), Sarah Corley MD (vendor), John Derr RPh, Linda Hogan, PhD, Mike Kappel (vendor), Joy Keeler, Jennifer Laughlin, David Merritt, Rick Ratliff, David Ross ScD, Don Rucker MD (vendor) – I’ll stop here, since those who want more information about our founding, funding, history and leadership have always been able to find it at our  HYPERLINK “” website.  Again quoting you in the Post, “even the appearance of a conflict of interest could poison the whole process.”  In support of this heartfelt concern for transparency, could you arrange for the Washington Post to append to your statements a disclosure of any possible conflicts of interest you might have?  Such as financial relationships with companies that market health IT products or services?  I have none.  Our standard regarding conflict of interest is the Federal one: any financial compensation, or any stock holdings over $10,000 by you or a family member.  David, the biggest challenges for health care lie ahead for all of us.  I hope we’ll see more of your talent invested in creating great new ideas rather than wasting it in this way. 

Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD, is Chair of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).

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pancreatic abscessbreast engorgementeyelid surgery costsleep sex disorderEMR Vendors Recent comment authors
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pancreatic abscess

Why is gold used in electronic products as a conductor instead of
silver? I believe silver is the better conductor of the two metals,
but sometimes they seem to use gold instead of silver. Could this be
because the electricity passes on the surface of the metal and
silver’s surface is more easily tarnished than that of gold which
doesn’t tarnish? (The tarnished silver surface doesn’t conduct as well
as gold.)

breast engorgement

Why improve Healthcare when there are too many people already?

eyelid surgery cost

If you were a doctor…..what would you think of a patient who is “mentally ill”?
Here in Texas, there are some hospitals and medical centers that are talking about integrating mental health care and general health. In plain English, this means that if a general hospital pulls up your electronic health record, it will also know if you’ve had mental health treatment. So, if you are “mentally ill” and see your primary care doctor, he/she will know immediately.

sleep sex disorder

What can be a catchy title for this project?
Does electronic devices effect your health?

EMR Vendors

I believe in record keepng. I should be to one who controls the flow of information. This matter only concerns my doctors and insurance companies, not the
federal government.

Jason Antman

“A small software company that caters to primary physicians practices in their community will undoubtly find the cost of entry to market extremely high and almost impossible.” “Unfortunately, I see CCHIT as a strong arm to deny independent developers the right to continue in this arena.” Amen. The software world itself is changing, and if Health IT ever wants to be on the cutting edge, it needs to change too. Dr. Leavitt, being the chairman of a committee on health IT certification, I can only assume that you have some technical background. Have you noticed that this very blog is… Read more »


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