The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) named the first technology review bodies that are authorized to certify electronic health record (EHR) systems. The review bodies, The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) and the Drummond Group Inc. (DGI), will have the task of ensuring that EHR systems are in compliance with criteria set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. David Blumenthal, M.D., the national coordinator for Health Information Technology stressed that this is a “crucial step” as certified EHR systems will be required for providers to meet meaningful use standards and the healthcare community’s confidence will grow in these systems.
This announcement comes as an important step in the Administration’s effort to encourage the transition from paper-based medical records to EHRs. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act created incentive payment programs to encourage healthcare providers to make this transition. In order to qualify for the incentive payments, however, providers must adopt and demonstrate the meaningful use of certified EHR systems. Now with CHIT and DGI, EHR systems can begin to receive certification and providers may begin to strive to demonstrate meaningful use of the EHR systems.
For more information on the implementation of health information technology, obtaining incentive payments from CMS for the demonstration of meaningful use, or review of EHR contracts please visit www.wachler.com or contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-544-0888.