The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a set of approved procedures that authorized testing and certification bodies will need to follow while evaluating whether electronic health record systems would support "meaningful use" requirements, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 8/18).
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs will receive incentive payments through Medicaid and Medicare (Tuutti, ExecutiveGov, 8/18).
According to a NIST statement, the 45 testing procedures will help ensure that EHRs function properly and have the ability to exchange data across different platforms. The procedures call for testing bodies to evaluate certain EHR components, such as:
- Encryption abilities;
- Methods for displaying and plotting growth charts; and
- Safeguards to control access to protected health information (Health Data Management, 8/18).
ONC Gearing Up To Announce ATCBs
In related news, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is expected to announce the names of ATCBs "soon," according to Carol Bean, ONC's division director for certification and testing.
During a phone conference this week, Bean said ONC officials are reviewing applications and expect to announce the approved ATCBs "sometime before the end of summer" (Manos, Healthcare IT News, 8/19).
CCHIT Weighs In
Alisa Ray, executive director of the Certification Commission for Health IT, said the NIST procedures do not completely resolve EHR certification issues.
She added that federal officials likely will release additional revisions and clarifications to the EHR testing procedures over time (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 8/18).