ONC Revises 2014 EHR Certification

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released a final rule for electronic health record certification that offers more flexibility for health information technology developers, providers, and consumers.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released a final rule for electronic health record (EHR) certification that offers more flexibility for health information technology developers, providers, and consumers.

The final rule revises the current 2014 Edition EHR certification criteria, and announces the decision not to adopt the 2015 proposed voluntary edition of EHR certification criteria after listening to public comment. Instead, ONC “adopted a small subset” of the voluntary edition proposals and included them as optional in the 2014 Edition.

“This final rule reflects ONC’s commitment to continually improve the certification program and respond to stakeholder feedback,” Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, national coordinator for health IT, said in a statement. “It provides more choices for health IT developers and their customers, including new interoperable ways to securely exchange health information. It also serves as a model for ONC to update its rules as technology and standards evolve to support innovation.”

While ONC made revisions to the 2014 Edition, eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals do not have to upgrade to EHR technology that is certified to the new edition release.

In the final rule, 10 optional and 2 revised certification criteria were added. The optional criteria include splitting the computerized provider order entry into 3 criteria (medications, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging) and a transitions of care certification criterion that is decoupled from the transport method. The 2 revisions were modifications to the “view, download, and transmit to 3rd party” and the “safety-enhanced design” certification criteria.

“This final rule introduces multiple means to reduce regulatory burden, increase regulatory flexibility for stakeholders, and promote further innovation,” ONC wrote.

Expected costs to be incurred by technology developers to produce and prepare EHR technology to be tested and certified in accordance with the new criteria will average $2.19 million each in 2014 and 2015.