"Today, it appears that capabilities are evaluated. Actual testing of products to make sure they do what the test script says is needed," says Margret Amatayakul, MBA, RHIA, CHPS, CPHIT, CPEHR, CPHIE, FHIMSS, president of Margret\A Consulting, LLC in Schaumburg, IL, who hopes the permanent program testing will be more rigorous than that of the temporary program. "However, all this still is in the context of the fact that the meaningful use criteria are the minimum needed for the incentive program. There may well be other product capabilities that a hospital or clinic needs for everyday use."
The transition will have no affect on previously-issued EHR technology certifications, according to the ONC website.
"This final rule completes the two-phased approach ONC began with the proposed rule issued in Spring 2010 and includes several important improvements to our certification processes," David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health IT said in the press release. "Our goal is to make the transition to the permanent certification program as seamless as possible."
The HITECH Act requires providers to use certified EHR technology to qualify for payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
Editor's note: Click here to view the HHS press release. Additional information on the certification program is also available in an ONC fact sheet. Information on the EHR incentive program website is available here. For a list of certified EHR systems or modules on the ONC's certified health IT product list, click here.