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ONC Releases 2014 Edition of Standard and Certification Criteria

March 2, 2012—The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Feb. 24 released the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria (S&CC) Proposed Rule  The proposed rule complements the newly-released Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 24].  These certification criteria seek to enhance care coordination, patient and family engagement, interoperability, and the security, safety, and efficacy of EHR technology. 

ONC explained, “The proposed revised definition of [certified EHR technology] CEHRT would require eligible health care providers to have a Base EHR (EHR technology that includes fundamental capabilities all providers would need to have) as well as the additional EHR technology necessary to meet the meaningful use objectives and measures for the stage of meaningful use that they seek to meet and to capture, calculate, and report clinical quality measures, but not more than necessary to meet those objectives.”  The proposed rule defines a Base EHR as including fundamental capabilities such as providing clinical decision support, physician order entry, exchange of health information with other sources, and the capacity to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of health information stored and exchanged.  “The revised definition of CEHRT would also enable eligible providers to upgrade and adopt EHR technology certified to the 2014 Edition EHR certification criteria as early as 2012 if they so choose,”  ONC stated.

The proposed rule will appear in the March 7 Federal Register. Comments are due 60 days after publication. The anticipated sunset of the temporary certification program is expected to occur on the effective date of a final rule for the S&CC proposed rule. At that time, the permanent certification program would become effective and would be known as the “ONC HIT Certification Program.”

ONC requests that the public comment specifically on proposed certification criteria that are intended to improve patient safety, such as through the application of user-centered technology and adherence to appropriate quality system principles.

Additionally, ONC would like feedback on ways to improve data portability (including the migration from one EHR to the next), including a proposal to improve data portability for providers, and on the concept of price transparency in regard to the cost of a certified complete EHR or certified EHR module. One specific feedback request from ONC is if they should require EHR technology developers to disclose the full cost of a certified complete EHR or certified EHR module.


Ethan Kendrick
Senior Program Specialist, Health Care Affairs
Telephone: 202-741-5461


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