Workgroup Recommends Scaling Down EHR Certification Process

May 9, 2014 in News

A Health IT Policy Committee workgroup has approved two recommendations that would narrow the focus of the electronic health record certification program after receiving testimony from industry stakeholders, Healthcare IT News reports (Manos, Healthcare IT News, 5/9).

Hearing Details

On Wednesday, members of the Health IT Policy Committee’s Adoption Certification Workgroup hosted a hearing on the EHR certification program to gauge its performance so far and get feedback on possible improvements (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 5/8).

During the meeting, the workgroup heard from:

  • EHR certification entities;
  • EHR developers;
  • EHR vendors;
  • Policymakers; and
  • Physicians.

Each group expressed frustration with the program’s guidelines. For example, certification groups criticized the lack of clear guidelines on product features, while EHR developers raised issues about the short timeframe and numerous updates and changes. Meanwhile, physicians argued that the products were difficult to use and that the requirements presented unnecessary burdens.

The majority of groups testifying and workgroup members voiced support for lawmakers to scale back the meaningful use program to reduce some of its complexity and focus efforts on making systems interoperable.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Workgroup Vote

On Thursday, the workgroup voted to approve two recommendations that would:

  • Require taking a holistic look at the certification process to determine how to streamline the process and improve coordination, timeframes and modes for feedback (Healthcare IT News, 5/9); and
  • Restrict mandatory certification requirements to those that focus on clinical quality measures, interoperability, and privacy and security.

The recommendations now will advance to the full Health IT Policy Committee for feedback and approval. Final recommendations then must be submitted and approved by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (Clinical Innovation Technology, 5/8).

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