The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology of Chicago and the Drummond Group, Inc. of Austin, TX, have been named by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology as the first technology review bodies authorized to test and certify electronic health record systems.
With the announcement of the testing and certification bodies, EHR vendors now can begin to have their products certified as meeting and supporting meaningful use criteria released in July by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Applications for additional authorized testing and certification bodies are still under review.
Certification is "a crucial step because it ensures that certified EHR products will be available to support the achievement of the required meaningful use objectives, that these products will be aligned with one another on key standards, and that doctors and hospitals can invest with confidence in these certified systems," says David Blumenthal, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology.
Certification of EHRs is part of the initiative undertaken last year under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which created new incentive payment programs as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help healthcare providers as they transition from paper?based medical records to EHRs.