The proposed rule announced today at HIMSS breathes new life into the movement towards open source solutions for electronic health records. On page 24 of the document it states:
HIT Policy Committee made five recommendations to the National Coordinator on August 14, 2009, which support the approach proposed in this rule. The recommendations addressed the scope of the certification process in general and the approach the National Coordinator should take to establish certification programs. The HIT Policy Committee recommended “that in defining the certification process…the following objectives are pursued:
1) Focus certification on Meaningful Use.
2) Leverage the certification process to improve progress on privacy, security, and interoperability.
3) Improve the objectivity and transparency of the certification process.
4) Expand certification to include a range of software sources, e.g., open source, self-developed, etc.
5) Develop a short-term certification transition plan.”
The National Coordinator reviewed and considered the recommendations made by the HIT Policy Committee and concluded that they should be used to provide direction for the proposals included in this rule. We believe that the proposals in this rule reflect the overall intent of the HIT Policy Committee’s recommendations.
So there is obviously going to be some focus and energy that will be voted towards open source solutions for electronic health records and I applaud this expansion of the certification process. The proposal would set up a two stage process to allow temporary certification in time for providers to meet deadlines for qualifying for the first stage meaningful use requirements. The rule states the must be "available before fall 2010." The eventual permanent program would transfer testing and certification to private sector organizations.