Trying to see the bright side of an incomplete scenario can be helpful in some cases. However, in the case of your EHR system, you’ll very likely find the full glass more palatable than the one that’s half-full. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is the source to find all of the EHR systems (http://onc-chpl.force.com/ehrcert/CHPLHome) that are certified in accordance with the Stage 1 criteria for EHR “Meaningful Use”. One key distinction and therefore a necessary question in the EHR selection process though has to do with classification of certification being “modular” or “complete”.
The short answer to this question is that “modular” certification means that the vendor has only demonstrated capabilities for a portion of the standard criteria necessary to put the medical practice into a position to gather and report on all of the appropriate data to qualify for the stimulus funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The implication for a medical practice that chooses a “modular EHR” is that they will likely have to purchase another EHR system. The second EHR system from another vendor would have to be one that includes at least the remaining criteria that the first EHR vendor of choice has chosen to disregard at this time.
The key is to ask a lot of questions of any EHR vendor, and that includes their business strategy too. One great question in this context is: “Why did you choose to pursue a modular EHR certification?”
For more thoughts on this topic, here is a link to an earlier post on needs assessments for the medical practice: