ONC Publishes List of Certified Electronic Medical Record Products
In fulfillment of the HITECH Act’s promises of financial incentives for eligible professionals who use “certified electronic health record technology,” the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has published a list of electronic health record products certified under the ONC’s temporary certification program. To qualify for financial incentive payments, health care providers must implement electronic health records that have been certified to fulfill published regulatory objectives. Health care providers must also become “meaningful users” of those electronic health records.
The meaningful use and certification definitions go hand-in-hand because the financial incentives are only available when electronic systems are implemented that meet regulatory objectives related to interoperability and tasks the systems are capable of performing. The ONC’s certification program and identification of certified electronic systems ensure that health care providers are adopting technologies capable of meeting those regulatory objectives. To become “meaningful users,” the providers must then implement those technologies in their patient care activities as frequently as the regulations require. Recovery of the available financial incentives further requires that the health care providers attest to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that they are “meaningful users”; those attestations begin in April 2011.
The publication of electronic systems certified to actually meet the “meaningful use” requirements is clearly the next step toward achievement of the HITECH Act’s goal of broadening standardized implementation of electronic health records. Health care providers should exercise diligence and caution when making the investment in electronic record technology to ensure that the chosen system is certified and that they implement it in accordance with the regulatory criteria required to qualify for financial incentives.