A New Window into How Certified Health IT Is Being Used

Michael Wittie and Jeff Smith | July 15, 2021

In section 3009A of the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 (Cures Act), Congress created the “Electronic Health Record Reporting Program” and required health IT developers participating in the ONC Health IT Certification Program to publicly report certain information about their certified health IT products consistent with a new “condition of maintaining certification.” The goal of this program is to bolster market competitiveness by making publicly available comparative information on the capabilities and uses of certified EHR systems. ONC has taken a dual-track approach to implement the EHR Reporting Program, and today we are excited to unveil the draft output of the second track.

In 2018, ONC contracted with the Urban Institute (Urban) to develop the first track: voluntary (in accordance with the Cures Act), user-reported measures spanning domains related to interoperability, usability, and security of certified health IT. These measures are now available for adoption by stakeholders including health care providers, academic researchers, and industry.

At the July 14, 2021 HITAC meeting, we released a draft set of health IT developer measures for the EHR Reporting Program condition of maintaining certification from the Cures Act. The goal of the developer-reported measures is to address information gaps in the health IT marketplace and provide insights into how certified health IT is being used.

ONC also contracted with Urban, and its subcontractor, HealthTech Solutions, to develop this draft set of developer measures. Urban and HealthTech Solutions examined the certified health IT landscape, interviewed stakeholders, and considered a variety of possible measures that could be part of the program.

In recognition of this work, and in alignment with our priorities, ONC has taken an incremental approach to this new Condition and Maintenance of Certification requirement. We have focused this initial set of developer-reported measures on the interoperability of health data, emphasizing four foundational domains:

  1. patient access;
  2. clinical care information exchange;
  3. public health information exchange, and
  4. standards adoption and conformance measures.

Now, it’s your turn: head over to the Urban web site and comment on the measures before the public feedback period ends on September 14, 2021.

Urban will refine the draft measures based on your input and submit a final set to ONC. Once a first version of measures have been finalized, ONC will need to initiate notice and comment rulemaking to fully implement the Cures Act’s EHR Reporting Program condition of maintaining certification. Implementing this condition of maintaining certification can give the public greater visibility into the impact that federal policies and investments as well as private sector investments are having on standards usage and interoperability for patients, clinicians, and public health.