ONC ATCBs: All the same?

Jim Tate
HITECH Act EHR Certification Expert

Advice for HIT Vendors

Finally, the Eagle has landed. We have the Final Rule, we have ONC authorized testing bodies and testing has begun in earnest. Soon we will have a list of numerous “Certified Technologies” that meet the requirements for the CMS EHR Incentive Program.

For those vendors that have not yet applied to an ATCB for testing, who should they pick?  We are not buying washing machines here, it is more like choosing a sherpa to help you climb Mt. Everest. The wrong decision could be a very big mistake. The bottom line is you want to get certified, sooner rather than later. Everything else is secondary. I’m not going to tell you who to choose because that is a decision that only the vendor should make. However, I will tell you what I think is important. Everybody wants to know “how much”? I think this is a non issue. For a company seeking certification the stakes are so high that costs should be a secondary concern.
Here is what I want to know from an ATCB I may be considering. Do they supply documents that explain the process and provide clarification and guidance? How responsive are they to my email inquires? How much will they help me leading up the test date by reviewing my interoperability files? I don’t want any surprises on test day. Policies around re-testing are important to review and understand but support, support, support should be your mantra as you perform due diligence on the ATCBs. Right now we have three to ask to the dance. Although I expect more ATCBs to be announce in coming weeks, here are the three we have now: CCHIT, Drummond, and InfoGard. See you on the dance floor.

The Incentive Roadmap®
Due to the complexities of the CMS EHR Incentive Program I have been contacted by numerous vendors, medical practices and professional associations looking for clarification and guidance. I was not able to locate a comprehensive source that would help them get started with a step by step approach. I decided to gather the information myself and present it in the simplest possible manner to get the ball rolling. It is for that reason that I have written The Incentive Roadmap®.
The e-manual is tailored for the medical practice looking to gain a complete understanding of the core requirements to become a ‘meaningful user of certified technology’ and prepare for the coming CMS EHR incentives. I will make frequent updates to the manual to keep up with the changing regulations and clarifications as they become available.