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by Gaby Loria,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 20, 2016


In 2010 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) selected six organizations to test and certify electronic health records (EHR) software, also known as electronic medical records (EMR) software. Dubbed ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies or ONC-ATCBs, these six companies determine which EHRs meet criteria to support "meaningful use."

Over 500 products for ambulatory practices and 275 products for inpatient practices have received ONC-ATCB certification and meet EHR meaningful use/EMR meaningful use requirements. These numbers will continue to rise over the next few years as more medical software vendors apply for certification.

Below is a breakdown of the six ONC-ATCBs, along with brief descriptions of each company: where they're located, when they were authorized and what types of EHRs they certify.

ONC-ATCBs:

CCHIT The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is based out of Chicago, Illinois. They were authorized as an ONC-ATCB on September 3, 2010. However, as of January 29, 2014, they have stopped certifying new EHR systems. Past certifications will still be honored. CCHIT certifications include both complete EHR systems and modules.
Drummond Group Based out of Austin, Texas. They were also authorized on September 3, 2010 and certify complete EHR systems and modules.
ICSA Labs Based out of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. They were authorized on December 10, 2010. They certify complete EHR systems and modules.
InfoGard InfoGard Laboratories is located in San Luis Obispo, California. They were authorized on September 24, 2010. They certify complete EHR systems and modules.
SLI Global Solutions Based out of Denver, Colorado. They were authorized on December 10, 2010. They certify complete EHR systems and EHR modules.
Surescripts Surescripts is from Arlington, Virginia. They were authorized on December 23, 2010. Their scope of authorization includes EHR modules, e-Prescribing, privacy and security.

It’s important for providers to understand that a single, certified product may not make them eligible for HITECH Act incentive payments. A product can be either a complete EHR or an EHR module.

For example, a software company could get certification for say, an e-Prescribing tool. This is an important distinction. Providers must implement two or more modular EHRs that, when combined, meet 100 percent of the ONC EHR criteria (or at least a complete meaningful use EHR/meaningful use EMR system). Here are four key questions providers should ask during their EHR comparison and while evaluating ONC-ATCB certified vendors

  • Which certification has the vendor received? CCHIT, KLAS or ONC-ATCB? Providers must use an ONC certified EHR/ONC certified EMR system to receive Stimulus incentives.
  • Which version of the software has been certified? Providers need to make sure the version they own or purchase has ONC-ATCB certification.
  • Has the vendor received certification for a complete or modular EHR? As noted above, providers must implement two or more modular EHRs that meet 100 percent of ONC criteria.
  • Has the product been renamed by a reseller or other business partner? Providers need to make sure the renamed version has been approved, even if the original product received certification.

Updates on Meaningful Use and Certification Requirements

On February 24, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released their proposal for “stage 2” of EHR meaningful use criteria. There are three major requirements or outcomes of stage 2:

  • The standardization of data formats so that EHRs are interoperable;
  • The ability for patients to access and download their health records, and;
  • An expanded set of quality metrics that will include specialists and that will help to demonstrate outcomes such as coordination of care.

While the rules were released this year, eligible providers (EPs) won’t need to demonstrate meaningful use of EHR software until 2014 (at least for the stage 2 requirements). There are 20 functional metrics and 12 clinical quality measures that providers will need to track. The entire proposal is available on the Federal Register website.

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