Health IT Now Coalition Applauds ONC’s New Certification Testing Plan | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Health IT Now Coalition Applauds ONC’s New Certification Testing Plan

August 7, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) recent announcement that it will transition to using industry-developed tools for its certification program was met with praise by the Health IT Now coalition—a group that has been critical of ONC in the past.

Last week, as Healthcare Informatics reported, ONC said that it plans to transition, over a five-year period, its health IT certification program to include testing tools developed by the healthcare industry rather than relying on tools financed by taxpayer dollars.

ONC’s Health IT Certification Program has been in place since 2010, and central to the program has been the use of electronic, automated testing tools for health IT products and systems. In past years, ONC and its partner agencies have made substantial investments with taxpayer dollars to develop and maintain the program’s testing tools free of charge to the health IT community, noted Steven Posnack, director of ONC’s Office of Standards and Technology, in a blog post last week. However, regulations permit private sector organizations, such as health IT developers, to also provide testing tools that could replace the testing infrastructure that the program currently supports. ONC believes a diverse mix of testing tools can help optimize the certification experience, according to Posnack.

Following the announcement, Health IT Now (HITN), a coalition of healthcare providers, patient advocates, consumers, employers, and payers who support the adoption and use of health IT, said in a statement that they have been pushing for these reforms since implementation of meaningful use began; most recently sending a letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price urging the administration to “[g]ive priority to standards and implementation specifications developed by consensus-based standards development organizations,” nothing that “[f]ocusing on standards used in the private sector is essential to reaching interoperability.”

Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White said, “We are pleased to see ONC responding in kind. We should have been doing this all along. We believe these reforms, supported by the 21st Century Cures Act, will improve interoperability by ensuring testing tools are developed by those who know what works in everyday industry practice. Further, this shift can eliminate waste by preventing ONC from duplicating what private sector entities can do more effectively. Already, ONC has partnered with stakeholders like the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) to successfully put industry-developed standards to use. We encourage ONC to continue and broaden this effort moving forward.”

The coalition has been critical of the federal health IT agency in the past, particularly regarding ONC’s role in directly reviewing certified health IT products and giving itself more direct oversight of health IT testing labs.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Program Presents Fourth Class of Startups

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, a program that helps entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market, has brought in nine more health tech startups as part of its fourth class.

DirectTrust Adds Five Board Members

DirectTrust, a nonprofit organization that support health information exchange, announced the appointment of five new executives to its board of directors.

Analysis: Many States Continue to Have Restrictive Telemedicine Policies

State Medicaid programs are evolving to accelerate the adoption of telemedicine models, this evolution is occurring more quickly in some states than others, according to a recent analysis by Manatt Health.