What to do if your EHR has functionality issues

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) issued an advisory last week explaining what steps to take if an electronic health record doesn’t do all that it is certified to do.

ONC noted that standards and certification criteria were intended to make sure that EHRs and modules that are certified actually can execute the required functions for meaningful use to improve health care for patients.

The May 25 advisory said that when users have complaints related to certified product functionality, the first step is to share details of the problem by emailing . ONC then directs those queries for investigation to one of the six ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCBs), which tested and approved the health IT product.

The ONC-ATCB then works with the EHR vendor to determine whether the product has the functionality to meet the criteria that is being questioned. If the answer is yes, the person who asked the initial question about a particular function is informed. If the answer is no, the product would need to undergo the EHR technology testing and certification process for that functionality again.

This step allows ONC to make sure that the systems and modules on the Certified Health IT Product List still meet its EHR certification requirements. More than 1,700 EHRs and modules have been certified to date.

Some questions that ONC receives about particular health IT certified products are not really related to functions that they are required to do to gain EHR certification. Examples of these issues include questions about pricing, installation, versioning, application use, customer relations, service issues, contracts and agreements, and integration into existing workflows. Users need to directly contact the EHR vendor for those types of concerns.

But affected users should also get involved with the health IT federal advisory committees to share their concerns related to EHR standards and certification criteria, ONC noted.