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Certification Programs & Policy

About Certification

ONC Certified HIT 2014 Logo

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.

Criteria and Terms of Use for the ONC Certified HIT Certification and Design Mark [PDF - 1 MB]

The Certification Process At A Glance

The graphic below provides an overview of the ONC EHR Certification Program.

Graphic: ONC Certification Program Overview

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.

Background

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

Latest News

Program Updates

EventDate
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

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