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Health IT Certification

March 16, 2010:

With incentives for providers who implement an electronic health record (EHR) come increasing guidelines regarding the EHR. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) includes guidelines for “meaningful use” requirements of the EHR. The meaningful use has been defined and includes creation of certification programs for health information technology.

The certification is intended to provide the health care community with assurances that the EHR systems will comply with the meaningful use guidelines and other requirements of the HITECH Act. On March 2, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the guidelines of a two-pronged approach to provide this certification.

The first portion is considered a bridge to aid in final certification of health IT providers while helping them to adopt EHRs that meet the meaningful use criteria within the timelines to receive the incentive payments. Part one is a temporary certification under the direction of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). This temporary certification is a stop-gap to allow adoption of certified EHR programs in a timely manner for meaningful use incentives.

The second portion is the transfer of testing and certification to selected private sector organizations. These organizations will be selected in according with the final certification rules.

The Health IT temporary certification must still meet the standards, implementation, and certification criteria in the interim final rule published in the January 13, 2010, Federal Register. Providers should select vendors who meet the criteria for certification to ensure the ability to collect incentive payment for early adoption of an EHR.

Nannette Orme, CPC, CEMC, PCS, CCS-P, CPMA
Clinical/Technical Editor


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