ONC Names Third EHR Certification Body

InfoGard Laboratories, Inc., of San Luis Obispo, Calif., is the third electronic health record (EHR) certification body to be named by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to date. The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) and Drummond Group, Inc. (DGI) were the first to be named, Aug. 30, as ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCB) by the ONC.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act incentivizes “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology in an effort to promote its adoption by the health care industry. Eligible professionals (EPs) can earn up to $44,000 through Medicare, and hospitals millions, in incentive payments if they make the switch from paper to certified EHRs in the next five years.

Both CCHIT and DGI recently posted their fees and methodology for testing and certifying EHRs. CCHIT’s standard fee for ambulatory EHR certification is $37,000, whereas DGI’s is $23,500.

CCHIT also announced Sept. 20 that it is now accepting vendor applications for testing EHR systems. “We have ramped up our testing capacity for the launch of this new program and are prepared to offer testing dates during September to early applicants who are well-prepared for testing,” CCHIT Chair Karen M. Bell, MD, said in a statement posted on the not-for-profit’s website.

The ONC issued a final rule June 18 to establish a temporary certification program for EHR technology. The temporary certification program establishes processes that organizations will need to follow to be authorized by the National Coordinator to test and certify EHR technology.

Final Rule on an initial set of standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for adoption by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary was issued July 13. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has since developed functional and conformance testing requirements, test cases, and test tools to help ensure compliance with meaningful use requirements and standards.

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