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Optional 2014 EHR certification criteria up for review

Alterations to the draft version of ONC’s 2014 Edition Release 2 EHR Certification Criteria is now open to a public comment period, during which users can offer reviews and feedback on changes to criteria that governs computerized physician order entry and how patients electronically view, download and share their health data.

The certification criteria for CPOE are broken down into three categories: medications, laboratory and diagnostic imaging. The draft provides examples of how ONC-certified testers electronically record, change and access each of these order types. In general, the draft offers regulatory flexibilities for organizations aiming to certify products they use or create up to 2014 Edition EHR certification criteria standards.

How data is transmitted is the focus of the change to the viewing, downloading and sharing of patient data section of the 2014 certification update. There is now an additional alternative approach “for demonstrating ‘transmit’ capabilities that follow the Implementation Guide for [the Direct Project’s] Direct Edge Protocols” — a fix that is shown in the ONC’s test procedure document. The Direct Edge Protocols were designed to protect how health information service providers communicate electronically with their clients.

All of the criteria contained within the 2014 release 2 are optional, meaning developers and providers don’t have to test their products against its standards. The 2014 release 2 document contains a subset of rules originally proposed as 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria. To stick to their desired timeline for EHR certification to be a yearly occurrence, ONC decided to combine a selection of 2015 rules with their 2014 revisions and package them as one update.  Though not mandatory, ONC suggests that EHR vendors and providers consider if any of the criteria are something worth pursuing.

The public comment period will remain open for 30 days, prior to the rule being finalized and approved by the ONC’s national coordinator.

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