ONC issues MU testing and certification rule change

September 12, 2014

The office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued a final rule Wednesday giving EHR vendors more flexibility with its testing and certification criteria

The office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a final rule Wednesday giving electronic health record (EHR) vendors more flexibility with its testing and certification criteria for attesting to meaningful use.

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While the ONC had initially planned on releasing an optional 2015 Edition in it’s final rule, after considering public comments, it released instead a set of 10 optional and two revised certification criteria called 2014 Edition Release 2.

Under the new rule, ONC will not require EHR vendors or providers to update or recertify their systems; however, it gives vendors the opportunity to make changes to their products.

“We encourage EHR technology developers and the eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs [critical access hospitals] that they support to consider whether the 2014 Edition Release 2 offers any opportunities that they might want to pursue,” the rule states.

The rule eliminates the concept of the “Complete EHR” certification. Instead, it adopts a new “ONC Certified HIT[health information technology]” certification.

“This final rule reflects ONC’s commitment to continually improve the certification program and respond to stakeholder feedback,” said Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, the national coordinator for health IT, in a written statement. “It provides more choices for health IT developers and their customers, including new interoperable ways to securely exchange health information.  It also serves as a model for ONC to update its rules as technology and standards evolve to support innovation,”

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on September 11.

READ: CMS issues EHR meaningful use rule