ONC proposes 2015 certification criteria

February 21, 2014 in Medical Technology

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on Friday issued proposals for the 2015 edition of electronic health record certification criteria.

In a press release, ONC noted that this is the first time it is proposing certification criteria separate from the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services’ meaningful use regulations. Officials say this signals the agency’s new regulatory approach – one marked by more incremental and frequent rulemaking.

This will enable ONC to update certification criteria more frequently to reference improved standards, officials say – and allow for regulatory clarity, with more comments solicited on potential proposals.

“The proposed 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria reflect ONC’s commitment to incrementally improving interoperability and efficiently responding to stakeholder feedback,” said National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, in a press statement.

“We will continue to focus on setting policy and adopting standards that make it possible for health care providers to safely and securely exchange electronic health information and for patients to become an integral part of their care team,” she added.

Compliance with the 2015 Edition would be voluntary; EHR developers that have certified EHR technology to the 2014 Edition would not need to re-certify to the 2015 Edition for customers to participate in meaningful use, according to ONC.

Likewise, those providers eligible to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs would not need to upgrade to 2015 edition criteria to have systems that meet the definition of certified EHRs.

“This provides the opportunity for developers and healthcare providers to move to the 2015 edition on their own terms and at their own pace,” said DeSalvo.

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on Feb. 26, 2014, and ONC will accept comments through April 28, 2014 before the final rule is issued sometime this summer.

[See also: CCHIT to cease EHR certifications]



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