In a not at all surprising bit of news the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has been named an authorized certification body (ONC-ACB) by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to certify electronic health records for the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology. CCHIT had been an authorized testing and certification body (ONC-ATCB) for the Temporary Certification Program. The Permanent Certification Program becomes effective on Oct. 4, 2012, and will be know as the ONC HIT Certification Program.
The ONC HIT Certification Program separates the testing and certifying of EHRs. Following its accreditation last month by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a certification body for the ONC HIT Certification Program, CCHIT applied to become an ONC-ACB. Also last month, CCHIT was named an Accredited Testing Laboratory (ATL) by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to test EHR technology.
When the ONC HIT Certification Program becomes effective, developers first test their EHR technology with an ATL, and if their product meets the requirements as a Complete EHR or EHR Module, they apply to an ONC-ACB to certify the product. In addition to its certification program, CCHIT will also offer its test services to developers as an ATL. CCHIT’s accredited testing and authorized certification services will be available only for the ONC 2011 edition criteria until ONC makes available testing procedures for the 2014 Edition. Until the effective date of the new program, CCHIT will continue to offer testing and certification under its Temporary Certification Program authorization.
CCHIT’s testing and certification services will be extended to include the new ONC 2014 edition criteria as described in the Health Information Technology: Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition; Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology, released on Aug. 23, 2012, as soon ONC releases approved testing procedures. Test procedures are expected to be available at year end.