ONC NPRM Stage 2 EHR Certification Rule

EHR Certification Criteria

On Friday the ONC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Health Information Technology: Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition; Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology. Previous EHR certification criteria is now known as the 2011 Edition. The rule was drafted from the ONC evaluating each of the 2011 certification criterion along with the recommendations from the HIT Standards Committee. The notice proposes:

  • the revision of the Stage 1 final rule published on July 28, 2010
  • adopt new standards, implementation specifications, and EHR certification criteria
  • revised definition of certified EHR technology (CEHRT) that, beginning with the EHR reporting periods in FY/CY 2014, would provide more flexibility for eligible health care providers
  • revisions to the permanent certification program for health information technology including the program’s name change.

For new CEHRT definitions and key changes to the ONC HIT Certification Program, view the ONC fact sheet. The notice is now in a public comment period for 60 days.

The ONC rule is in addition to the CMS Stage 2 NPRM for the EHR Incentive program rule released earlier last week. That rule outlines the criteria for Eligible Professional and Eligible Hospitals to become meaningful users in Stage 2 of the incentive program. These two rules will govern Stage 2 of the CMS EHR Incentive Programs. In the following weeks we will look forward to the reporting and detailing the rules along with reading the comments that are being submitted to the rules.

New timeline for the EHR Incentive Program supporting adoption of certified health information technology:

  • Stage 1 (which began in 2011 and remains the starting point for all providers): “meaningful use” consists of transferring data to EHRs and being able to share information, including electronic copies and visit summaries for patients.
  • Stage 2 (to be implemented in 2014 under the proposed rule): “meaningful use” includes new standards such as online access for patients to their health information, and electronic health information exchange between providers.
  • Stage 3 (expected to be implemented in 2016): “meaningful use” includes demonstrating that the quality of health care has been improved.