According to CMS' announcement, "This approach is designed to provide public input on policy proposals, enable our certification processes to more quickly adapt to include newer industry standards that can lead to greater interoperability, and add more predictability for EHR technology developers. We also anticipate that this new approach would spread out over a longer time period the certification requirements to which EHR technology developers have previously had to react."
The first step under this new approach would be to publish a proposed rule for a 2015 Edition of certification criteria.
"We intend for the 2015 Edition certification criteria to improve on the 2014 Edition certification criteria in several ways," the CMS announcement states. "We expect the 2015 Edition would be responsive to stakeholder feedback; would address issues found in the 2014 Edition; and would reference updated standards and implementation guides that we expect would continue momentum toward greater interoperability.
CMS also stated that it expects to propose that the 2015 Edition would be voluntary in the sense that providers participating in the EHR Incentive Programs would not have to upgrade to 2015 Edition EHR technology, and no EHR technology developer who has certified its EHR technology to the 2014 Edition would need to recertify its products. CMS' intention would be for the 2014 Edition to remain the baseline certification criteria edition for meeting the Certified EHR Technology definition.