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Policy Committee approves suggested changes to certification proposed rule

The Health Information Technology Policy Committee has endorsed a set of recommendations that ask for more clarification of some elements in the certification process outlined in the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Health IT developers and vendors will have to undergo the testing and certification process once it’s been established to ensure they are meeting ONC’s standards. Providers will look for the official stamp of approval on electronic health records (EHR) and other technology products as they implement systems that comply with meaningful use mandates.

Drafted by the policy committee’s certification and adoption workgroup, the recommendations aim to clarify that process for providers and vendors. The suggestions, which the committee will submit in a letter to the ONC, concentrate on labeling requirements and the definition of certification as it applies to technology. For example, one recommendation calls for the ONC to require that EHRs and other certified products carry a label explaining for which stage of the meaningful use rollout they are certified. The requirements for Stage 1 of the rollout will be different from the requirements for stages 2 or 3, according to the workgroup.

Overall, the workgroup is pleased with the proposed certification plan, it said. The testing and certification programs need to be more objective and fair, which the proposed rule strives to achieve, said Paul Egerman, chairman and chief executive officer of eScription Inc. and co-chair of the workgroup, during a presentation to the full committee. “The NPRM seems to be following exactly our recommendations.”

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