The permanent EHR certification program has been delayed, ONC has announced, stating that there would not be enough accredited EHR software testing laboratories to move forward as planned on Jan. 1, 2012.
The program will now begin on July 1. By then, ONC said, there should be six certification bodies, as the case with the temporary EHR certification program now in place. If not enough testing labs have been found, though, the date may shift again.
In the temporary program — implemented to get EHR software certified by the time stage 1 of meaningful use began — entities serve as both authorized testing and certification bodies (ONC-ATCBs). In the permanent program, on the other hand, the testing and certification processes are separated, in accordance with industry and government practices.
Once the permanent EHR certification program is in place, ONC-ATCBs can no longer accept software testing and certification requests and have six months to fulfill all existing requests under the temporary program. If an EHR vendor doesn’t get its software certified during that six-month window, then it will have to reapply under the permanent EHR software certification rules.