The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has been named by the ONC as the sole accreditor of the EHR certifiers. In other words they will be the sole authority, for at least the next three years, over which organizations get to certify EHR products.
The selection of ANSI as the authorized accrediting organization (AA) is an initial step in what the ONC hopes will become the permanent certification program. The permanent program will be replacing the temporary program which expires at the end of this year.
ANSI, located in Washington, DC, refers to themselves on their website as:
The voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) empowers its members and constituents to strengthen the U.S. marketplace position in the global economy while helping to assure the safety and health of consumers and the protection of the environment.
The Institute oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector: from acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution, and many more. ANSI is also actively engaged in accrediting programs that assess conformance to standards – including globally-recognized cross-sector programs such as the ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems.
Under the permanent certification program, which begins Jan. 1, 2012, the accreditor must assure that the authorized certification bodies follow consistent and reliable methods when they conduct surveillance of EHR vendor products after they receive certification.
Among its responsibilities, the accreditor must adhere to ISO/IEC 17011, a standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization that specifies the requirements for bodies that approve conformity assessment organizations, such as ONC’s authorized certification bodies.
The accreditor must also evaluate how certification organizations conform with ISO/IEC Guide 65, a standard for requirements for certifying bodies.