According to Health Data Management, the HIT Policy Committee announced today that multiple entities could provide certification services that attest an electronic health records system meets meaningful use requirements under ARRA.
Under the adopted recommendations from the policy committee's Certification/Adoption Workgroup:
Multiple organizations should be allowed to perform HHS-approved certification testing using identical criteria;
The process of defining certification criteria should be performed by
the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information
Technology and separated from organizations that provide certification
ONC should develop an accreditation process and select organizations to accredit certifying organizations.
The National Institute for Standards and Technologies should play a
major role in determining who should conduct certification and how the
accreditation body should be established.
Vendors would need to get certification from only one approved certifying entity,
Certification criteria should occur no more frequently than once a year and certification would last for four years;
The process for obtaining certification also should enable qualifying
for Stark exceptions that enable organizations to subsidize the cost of
EHRs for physicians. It would not be necessary to get two
"Lock down" requirements of EHR software should be eliminated to address concerns of the open source community; and
An alternate certification process, based on a site inspection, could
be developed for organizations using self-developed software.
The proposed Definition of HHS Certification in the HIT Policy Committee-adopted recommendations is:
Certification means that a system is able to achieve the minimum
government requirements for security, privacy and interoperability, and
that the system is able to support the achievement of Meaningful Use
results that the government expects."