The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Certification Program provides a defined process to ensure that Electronic Health Record (EHR) technologies meet the adopted standards and certification criteria to help providers and hospitals achieve meaningful use (MU) objectives and measures established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the adoption, implementation, upgrade or demonstrated meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT). Meaningful Use establishes the requirements for providers to show they are using CEHRT in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and quantity. For additional information on Meaningful Use, please visit CMS’ website.
Benefits of Certification
Certification of Health Information Technology (HIT) provides assurance to purchasers and other users that an EHR system offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet MU objectives and measures.
Certification also gives providers and patients confidence that the electronic HIT products and systems they use are secure and can work with other systems to share information. A new mark for certified electronic health records (EHR) technology is available for EHR products that have been certified by an ONC-Authorized Certification Body (ONC-ACB) and will indicate that the product meets the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria.
The Certification Process At A Glance
The graphic below provides an overview of the ONC EHR Certification Program.
In the ONC Certification Program, vendors first create EHR products that meet the standards and certification criteria adopted by the HHS Secretary. Then, Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs) test the products. ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs) certify tested EHR products based on the standards and certification criteria adopted by the HHS Secretary. Once the product(s) have been certified, ONC posts the certified product(s) to the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL). Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs) then use EHR products in accordance with Meaningful Use (MU) objectives and measures. EPs and EHs then attest to MU and collect incentive payments from CMS.
The Office of Certification was established to develop and oversee national programs for certification of HIT as required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
The HITECH Act seeks to improve health care delivery and patient care through an unprecedented investment in HIT. The provisions of the HITECH Act are specifically designed to provide the necessary assistance and technical support to providers, enable coordination and alignment within and among states, establish connectivity to the public health community in case of emergencies, and assure the workforce is properly trained and equipped to be meaningful users of certified EHRs. These programs collaboratively build the foundation for every patient to benefit from an EHR, as part of a modernized, interconnected, and vastly improved system of care delivery.
Latest News and Program Updates
- February 26, 2014
ONC published the Voluntary 2015 Edition EHR Certification Criteria Proposed Rule in the Federal Register. Read the proposed rule here.
- July 10, 2013
A new mark for certified EHR technology will appear on EHR products that have been certified by an ONC-Authorized Certification Body and will indicate that the product meets the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria. Read the HHS Press release.
- March 7, 2013
Along with NIST, ONC hosted a panel discussion at HIMSS 2013 to provide guidance, clarification, and updates about ONC’s EHR Certification Programs and an overview of next steps.
- January 2, 2013
ONC released CHPL 3.0 to support providers seeking attestation to the 2011 or 2014 Edition EHR Certification Criteria or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition EHR Certification Criteria. Visit the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) for more information on the CHPL.
- December 14, 2012
ONC published the 2014 Edition Test Method today. The 2014 Edition Test Method is available on ONC’s website.
- September 4, 2012
ONC and CMS published final requirements for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs
- Health Information Technology: Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition; Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology; Final Rule [PDF - 1.25 MB]
- Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program--Stage 2 [PDF - 1.22 MB]
|CHPL 3.0 Operational||January 2, 2013|
Final 2014 Edition Test Method approved and published
|December 14, 2012|
ONC HIT Certification Program Operational
|October 4, 2012|
Temporary Certification Program Sunset
|October 4, 2012|
Health Information Technology: Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition: Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology; Final Rule published [PDF - 1.25 MB]
|September 4, 2012|
|ONC authorized the first round of certification bodies to serve as ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs) in the ONC HIT Certification Program following their accreditation by ANSI. More information is available here||July 2012|
|NVLAP accredited the first group of testing laboratories to serve as Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs) in the ONC HIT Certification Program. More information is available here||July 2012|
|ONC-AA Announcement of ANSI by ONC||June 2011|