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Pabrai on HIPAA/HITECH Compliance

Aug 20 2010   2:47PM GMT

Understanding the Temporary EHR Certification Program

Posted by: Pabrai
EHR, HITECH, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) on June 24 published a final rule for EHR certification as part of the meaningful use incentive plan. This became effective immediately. This was first published as an interim final rule in January 2010.

Organizations that have an interest in becoming Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCBs) can submit applications as of July 1, 2010. It is a multi-step process and if they are approved then they can test and certify EHR products on criteria specific to the meaningful use program. The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has applied to become an authorized certification body.

Who will provide the test methods for the program? The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will provide test methods for the program.

Vendors may submit complete systems or individual modules for certification.

Why is this Temporary EHR Certification Program relevant? This is because provider organizations (e.g. hospitals) must use technology that has been certified by the ONC-ATCB.

The ONC published the final rule on standards and certification criteria on July 28, 2010. This supports meaningful use program and becomes effective on August 27, 2010.

Where can you get more information on all certified products and ONC-ATCBs? The ONC will maintain a list of ONC-ATCBs and certified products at the website, The Temporary EHR Certification Program is expected to sunset in 2012 and will be replaced by the permanent program at that time.  Products certified under the temporary program will maintain their certification under the permanent program.

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