#21 Question [12-10-021-2]
What does it mean to “possess” EHR technology as mentioned in FAQ 9-10-017?
We consider “possession” of EHR technology certified to an edition of EHR certification criteria to be either the physical possession of the medium on which a certified Complete EHR, or certified EHR Module resides, or a legally enforceable right by an eligible health care provider to access and use, at its discretion, the capabilities of a certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module. An eligible health care provider may determine the extent to which it will implement or use these capabilities, which will not affect the provider’s “possession” of the certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module.
An EP, EH, or CAH must possess all of a certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module (i.e., the capabilities for which certification is required) in order to receive the benefit of such certification. An EP, EH, or CAH cannot purchase or possess only “components” of a certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module for the purposes of meeting the CEHRT definition. That is, unless independently certified, those “components” could not be used to meet the CEHRT definition. We further explain this policy in FAQ 5 and in the 2014 Edition EHR certification criteria final rule (77 FR 54266). In the final rule, we also note that the possession policy does not apply to those capabilities that an EHR technology developer may include with those that constitute a certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module but for which certification is not required. In those instances, because these other included capabilities are not required for certification, an EP, EH, or CAH, would not necessarily need to possess them if the EHR technology developer would separately sell them.