4 groups to certify EHRs for 2014

By Mary Mosquera
12:22 PM

Four organizations have been authorized as ready to start testing and certifying electronic health records for the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria, which were published in coordination with the meaningful use stage 2 final rule.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced Jan. 11 the readiness for the certifiers to start accepting applications for EHR product approval.

The groups also certified EHRs under the temporary program for the first stage of meaningful use: the Certification Commission for Health IT (CCHIT), Drummond Group Inc., ICSA Laboratories Inc., and InfoGard Laboratories Inc.

CCHIT, which also has been accredited as an EHR product tester, said it has updated its test procedures and certification materials to align with the ONC 2014 program criteria. “We’ve also updated our online client portal, The Source, and added features that support the 2014 Edition in order to allow our clients to manage testing and certification, and product updates in one place,” said Alisa Ray, CCHIT executive director and CEO, in an announcement.

Drummond has provided EHR software developers and vendors a Decision Guide that bridges the knowledge gap between ONC's 2011 and 2014 Edition criteria. It aims to help reduce the complexity of determining what to do to meet meaningful use stage 2 requirements.

“We can't make the requirements less demanding, but we can offer informative tools that make it possible for vendors to quickly gain much-needed insight into their certification needs and testing readiness,” said Kyle Meadors, Drummond Group's EHR testing director, in a release, adding that “we can offer a software testing approach that makes the process more palatable for vendors.”

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The ONC certification program assures that the EHRs that providers purchase can perform the functions and related standards using the implementation specifications required to meet meaningful use.

Separate organizations perform certification and testing activities. Certification is completed by ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs) and testing is performed by Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs). Developers and vendors first test their product against the criteria with an ATL, and if their product meets the requirements, they work with an ONC-ACB to certify the product.

Once the product is certified, it is submitted to ONC and ONC posts the product on the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) .

Another authorized certifier, Orion Register, decided not to continue to be a certification body in 2013.