The testing and certification of health IT tools is an important part of the adoption of EHR technology across the healthcare industry. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has held the chief responsibility for the certification of EHR systems and health IT tools.
ONC reports that one of its goals is to improve the testing and certifying of health IT tools and published a Federal Register notice on June 9. This notice allows for the National Coordinator to offer more flexibility in accepting test procedures, test capabilities, and data “developed by any person or entity for approved use.”
The reasoning behind the publication of the notice was due to feedback from healthcare industry stakeholders. The feedback involved improving testing efficiency by allowing the inclusion of industry-led testing and certification within the ONC Certification Program.
This news will allow for health IT vendors, developers, and other entities to submit data, test procedures, and test tools to be considered for inclusion within the Health IT Certification Program.
“We are excited about the potential of leveraging community supplied tools because there is no limit to the number that can be submitted and we believe that having more testing flexibility will help the program maximize the efficiencies already created and operational-proven by health IT developers,” ONC reported.
This will create more flexibility and opportunity for those looking for alternative testing resources when it comes to the certification of their health IT tools. Those interested in submitting test tools, test procedures, or test data to be addressed by ONC representatives can do so via the firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The National Coordinator is open to approving test procedures, test tools, and test data that meet the outlined approval requirements above for an applicable adopted certification criterion or criteria,” theDepartment of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated in a document. “By way of this document, we strongly encourage persons or entities to submit such test procedures, test tools, and test data to ONC if they believe such procedures, tools, and data could be used to meet ONC’s certification criteria and testing approval requirements. We also note that there is no programmatic prohibition on the approval of multiple test procedures, test tools, and test data for a certification criterion or criteria.”
Other changes that have been included among federal agencies regarding the adoption of health IT tools include the modification to Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements. The modifications proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will last between the years 2015 to 2017.
Providers should pay attention to all changes with meaningful use requirements as well as alterations with certification of health IT tools in order to receive financial incentives under the EHR Incentive Programs established by CMS.
All of these changes are reforming the healthcare industry as a whole and providers should expect ongoing policy revisions across the nation in efforts to improve the quality of healthcare services, better population health outcomes, and lower rising costs.