CCHIT moves toward becoming authorized EHR certification body under permanent program

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a certification body for the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology. CCHIT has also been accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to test EHR technology.

“ANSI accreditation is a major step toward becoming an ONC [Office of the National Coordinator]-authorized certification body under the final rule of the Permanent Certification Program, which was issued in January 2011,” said Alisa Ray, executive director, CCHIT.

The Permanent Certification Program separates the testing and certifying of EHRs. Organizations must apply to ONC to become an authorized certification body (ONC-ACB) following ANSI accreditation.  NVLAP has been acknowledged by ONC, by regulation, as the Accreditation Body for Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs) in the Permanent Certification Program.  Developers first test their EHR technology with an ATL, and if their product meets the requirements, they will work with an ONC-ACB to certify the product. CCHIT said will apply to ONC for authorization as an ONC-ACB and offer its separate test services to developers as an ATL.

“By both testing and certifying complete EHRs and EHR Modules, CCHIT will be able to provide ‘one-stop’ services for EHR developers,” said Ray in a prepared statement.  “We currently are readying our new programs to include the ONC 2014 edition of criteria. We will endeavor to open that program as quickly as possible after ONC issues the final rule and test procedures. We are also building adequate capacity in order to meet developers’ needs. We [will] continue operating the ONC 2011 edition of the Temporary Program as an ONC-ATCB until new authorization is granted.”

CCHIT reported that it has tested and certified 703 EHR products under the Temporary Certification Program, making it the ONC-ATCB most frequently selected by developers. The Temporary Program remains in effect until the Permanent Certification Program is in place.

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