Certification: Final Rule on the Temporary Program

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released a final rule Friday establishing the temporary program for EHR certification under the meaningful use incentive plan. The rule establishes the means by which EHR products will be certified for use in the program. [June 24: official publication occurred today in the Federal Register.]

Organizations will apply to become ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies in a multistep process. If approved, they will test and certify EHR products on criteria specific to the meaningful use program. Vendors may submit both complete systems and individual modules.

Current certification from the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology does not apply to the meaningful use program. For its part, CCHIT has stated its intention to become an authorized certification body for the program.

ONC proposed a temporary program to speed the certification process in advance of the meaningful use program start this October. In the final rule, ONC announced its intention to sunset the temporary program on December 31, 2011. Many commentors had asked ONC to establish a target date for the start of the permanent program.

ONC expects to publish a final rule on the permanent program in the fall.

More information on the temporary program is available on the federal health IT Web site. The rule’s official publication in the Federal Register is scheduled for June 24.

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