The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) came out with its final rule on June 18 establishing the temporary certification program for electronic health records (EHRs). Not surprisingly, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), which to date has been the only active certifier in the field, announced today it would submit an application to become an ONC Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB).
CCHIT has tested and certified hundreds of electronic health records since 2006 and has full confidence it will be approved.
“The good news is the [ONC] rule that came out on Friday was very much aligned with what it had been. And even though there are some changes to it, they’re not substantial enough to create any substantial concern from our point of view,” says CCHIT Chair Karen Bell, M.D. “The bottom line here is that it’s very much what we anticipated on those levels, and we will be moving forward with our application this week and we will also continue to put a lot of emphasis on our core business which is the certification process.”
Bell explains that the CCHIT certification process will remain the same as it had always been. CCHIT reviews all EHR applications, and then evaluates the EHR in vendor and provider settings. A testing period follows and if the EHR is successful, it is granted a certificate.
Bell also says that CCHIT is developing a new remote testing program to work with organizations like large academic centers that have developed their own EHRs. This testing program will allow the institution to assess their readiness for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) certification and make any necessary upgrades and changes before being certified by CCHIT.
“We know that there are many vendors who have been certified by us and will be certified in this new process that still require their products to integrate with others and require a lot of customization,” Bell says. “Our goal is to ensure these hospital settings will be eligible for certification.”