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ONC Delays EHR Certification Program

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has delayed the permanent program for electronic health records (EHRs) certification launch until the summer of 2012. This is to coincide with the anticipated final rule for stage two of meaningful use and standards and certification criteria. According to a Nov. 3 Federal Register (Vol. 76, No. 213) notice:

“We believe that the sunset of the temporary certification program should be tied to the effective date of the final rule that we intend to issue in summer 2012, which is expected to adopt new and revised standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHR technology in support of the next stage of meaningful use under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.”

Aligning the completion of the temporary certification program with the final rule date will provide more certainty to “health care providers, EHR technology developers, and other stakeholders, while also ensuring a sufficient number of accredited testing laboratories and ONC–ACBs exist to meet market demand,” ONC said.
The ONC will publish another Federal Register notice to let the public know if  further changes are made to the temporary certification program’s expected sunset date.
Previously, ONC intended to wrap up its temporary program and begin the permanent and more comprehensive program on or around Jan. 1, 2012. ONC has authorized six temporary testing and certifying bodies to approve EHRs and EHR modules. They have certified 1,200 EHRs or modules to date.

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