ONC-ATCB Update – New EHR Certifier

Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ATCBs) are selected by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT). The ONC-ATCBs are required to test and certify EHRs as outlined in the Standards and Certification Criteria Final Rule. A certified EHR will let eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) the systems will support the requirements they must meet to achieve meaningful use. Currently the ATCBs are operating under the ONC’s Final Rule for the temporary program which will expire at the end of 2011. The permanent program is still under development but will replace the temporary program with it’s own Final Rule.

InfroGrad Laboratoriesin San Luis Obispo, CA was named the newest ATCB last week bringing the total to three. Chicago, IL based CCHIT and Drummond Groupin Austin TX were announced at the end of last month. No stranger to IT testing, InfoGrad was the first IT security testing lab accredited by NIST in 1995. And since then they have had plenty of participation in both government and private sector testing programs.

Of the three ATCBs, Drummond Group is currently taking vendor applications for testing. Its group of 5 tests cover; Complete EHR, EHR Modules-Integrated Bundle Complete EHR, EHR Module, Modified Certified Products Attestation, and Retesting. The pricing will range from $15.5K to $24K. For more information check out their FAQ page.

CCHIT has published on their web site it will launch its HHS certification program on September 20, 2010. No details as of this post but we will report when it happens. Those vendors with previous CCHIT certification experience should see a similar approach to the new EHR certifications according to CCHIT. No comment on pricing as of yet either.

Since last June ONC Blumenthal has stated the awareness of 5 entities for possible ATCBs with only 3 being able to deliver immediately in the temporary program. An unexpected application was received by the Austin TX based Weno Healthcare Inc. It is believed their participation will shake up the pricing structure with a low cost alternative.

The ONC said in their 9/17 announcement that more organizations are being considered so stay tuned. The ONC also says they will be keeping a Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) of all certified EHR products and certifications once products begin to be certified.