Washington, D.C. - The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery hosted a summit that included the American Optometric Association and others Jan. 16 to unify the eye-care community around a new joint vision health information technology (HIT) agenda to develop certification standards. HIT certification is a way for physicians and providers to feel more secure about their electronic health record (EHR) system purchase, because there are standards and test processes in place for functionality and security.
“The organizations will work together to create the pathway for a unified HIT prioritization that will work for all eye care professionals and develop certification standards,” said H. Dunbar Hoskins, Jr., MD, executive vice president and CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “This collaborative effort is committed to identifying mutual HIT needs.”
The newly-formed work group seeks an eye care specialty electronic health record (EHR) certification through the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating adoption of interoperable HIT. CCHIT officials announced during the summit that the commission proposes to add eye care to the list of specialties it will focus its certification efforts on during its next cycle. The Academy, ASCRS and AOA submitted a joint environmental scan to CCHIT to be added to its roadmap. Current CCHIT certification does not focus on eye care practice needs.
“It is important for the special needs of eye care to be addressed in EHR certification standards,” said David E. Silverstone, MD, chairman of the ASCRS HIT subcommittee. “As ophthalmologists, we need EHRs that are designed to facilitate the entry and tracking of the data we follow in patients. Current certification standards actually discriminate against EMR systems designed specifically for eye care.”
The expected start date for certification of standards under this new roadmap is well before the date President Obama has signaled he wants to see HIT in place for all health-care providers.
“Achieving certification together provides the vision community with the opportunity to be part of the standard-setting process, as opposed to having standards imposed on us. Physicians shortly will have significant financial incentives for certified electronic health records,” Hoskins said.
American Academy of Ophthalmology Media Relations 415.561.8534
John Ciccone, ASCRS 703.788.5761
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
AAO is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons—Eye M.D.s—with more than 27,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three “O’s” – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org