Health IT Certification Programs
Health IT certification programs provide assurance to purchasers and other users that an EHR system, or other relevant technology, offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria established for a given phase. Providers and patients must also be confident that the health IT products and systems they use are secure, can maintain data confidentially, and work with other systems to share information.
Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals who seek to qualify for incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are required to use certified EHR technology. Once certified, Complete EHRs and EHR Modules would be able to be used by eligible professionals and eligible hospitals, or be combined, to meet the statutory requirement for Certified EHR Technology.
Health Information Technology Certification Programs
Temporary Certification Program
In June 2010, ONC issued a final rule to establish a Temporary Certification Program for Health Information Technology for the purposes of testing and certifying EHRs. This final rule was specifically established to assure the availability of certified EHR technology prior to the date on which health care providers seeking the incentive payments would begin to report demonstrable meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
Permanent Certification Program
In January 2011, ONC issued the final rule to establish the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology. The permanent certification program will eventually replace the temporary certification program. The temporary certification program will continue to be in effect until the processes necessary for the permanent certification program are operational.
In June 2011, ONC approved the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as the ONC-Approved Accreditor (AA) for the Permanent Certification Program. The ONC-AA will accredit organizations to certify EHR technology and perform other responsibilities under the permanent certification program. Approval of the ONC-AA is one of the initial steps in the implementation of the permanent certification program, which is anticipated to replace the temporary certification program in 2012.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
In collaboration with ONC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed the functional and conformance testing requirements, test cases, and test tools to support the proposed health IT certification programs. These conformance test methods (test procedures, test data, and test tools) will help ensure compliance with the meaningful use technical requirements and standards. Visit the NIST website to learn more.
For questions related to the health IT certification programs, please email ONC.Certification@hhs.gov.
- Health IT Certification Programs – Frequently Asked Questions
- Temporary Certification Program Press Release
- Permanent Certification Program Press Release