ONC establishes temporary EHR certification program

July 15, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has established a temporary certification program through which it will authorize organizations to test and certify electronic health record technology.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has established a temporary certification program through which it will authorize organizations to test and certify electronic health record (EHR) technology.

The program is designed to assure healthcare providers that the systems they adopt have been tested and include the required capabilities they need to improve the quality of care they provide patients. Healthcare providers who wish to receive incentive payments via the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs must use EHR technology that is certified.

March 10, HHS proposed establishing two certification programs-one temporary and one permanent-to test and certify EHRs. The permanent certification program is expected to be established this fall.

"We hope that all health information technology [HIT] stakeholders view this rule [the establishment of the temporary program] as the federal government's commitment to reduce uncertainty in the HIT marketplace and advance the successful implementation of EHR incentive programs," said David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for HIT.