Even though the new regime for testing and certifying electronic health-record systems under the federal EHR incentive program won't take effect until October—and testing against newly released criteria might not begin until year's end—federal authorities have given five organizations the OK to certify software for that program.
HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has authorized the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, the Drummond Group, ICSA Labs, InfoGard Laboratories and Orion Register to serve as certification bodies under the EHR incentive payment program, according to ONC spokesman Peter Ashkenaz. The program was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
C. Sue Reber, spokeswoman for one of the five, the Chicago-based CCHIT, said the news came in a conference call with the ONC on Tuesday.
In July, all five organizations were accredited by the American National Standards Institute as certification bodies and by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program as accredited testing laboratories for EHR systems.
Back in January 2011, the ONC published a final rule creating permanent and separate EHR testing and certification programs for the incentive payment programs run by Medicare and state Medicaid agencies. The permanent programs replace a temporary testing and certification regime set up to get the EHR incentive program off the ground. Under the temporary program, EHR testing and certification functions were combined and performed by the same organizations.
Read the full article here.