The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology and the Drummond Group Inc. were yesterday named the first technology-review entities authorized to test and certify electronic health record systems for compliance with the standards and certification criteria issued by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year.
EHR vendors can now begin to have their products certified as meeting criteria to support meaningful use, an important step in the nationwide effort to encourage adoption and effective use of EHRs by U.S. healthcare providers.
“Less than two months following the issuance of final meaningful-use rules, we have approved our initial ONC-ATCB certifiers,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health IT. “EHR vendors can begin immediately to get their products certified. This is a crucial step because it ensures that certified EHR products will be available to support the achievement of the required meaningful use objectives, that these products will be aligned with one another on key standards, and that doctors and hospitals can invest with confidence in these certified systems.”
The naming of initial ONC-ATCBs is one important step, Blumenthal added.
“Actual certification of multiple vendors’ systems by the ONC-ATCBs is an important next step,” he said. “CMS is also working to create an online system for providers to register and attest for the EHR incentive programs. The first incentive payments are targeted to be made in May 2011. Meanwhile, ONC is also carrying out new programs of technical assistance and training, especially for smaller hospitals and physician practices.”