HHS proposes two-part approach to EHR certification process

March 11, 2010

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius March 2 proposed a two-part approach for establishing a certification program to test and certify electronic health record systems.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius March 2 proposed a two-part approach for establishing a certification program to test and certify electronic health record (EHR) systems.

"The [Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH)] Act mandates the development of a certification program which will give purchasers and users of EHR technology assurances that the technology and products have the necessary functionality and security to help meet meaningful use criteria," David Blumenthal, MD, head of the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, wrote on his office's website. "While we are making significant strides toward modernizing our healthcare system, these efforts will only succeed if providers and patients are confident that their health information systems are safe and functional."

The first proposed program would create a temporary certification process under which Blumenthal would authorize organizations to assume many of the responsibilities that eventually will be fulfilled under the permanent certification program. For the permanent certification program, much of the responsibility for testing and certification would be transitioned to organizations in the private sector.

Blumenthal encouraged the public to comment on the proposal.