The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), Chicago, Ill. and the Drummond Group Inc. (DGI), Austin, Texas, were named today by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as the first technology review bodies that have been authorized to test and certify electronic health record (EHR) systems for compliance with the standards and certification criteria that were issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year. >
Announcement of these ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCBs) means that EHR vendors can now begin to have their products certified as meeting criteria to support meaningful use, a key step in the national initiative to encourage adoption and effective use of EHRs by America’s health care providers.
Applications for additional ONC-ATCBs are also under review.
Certification of EHRs is part of a broad initiative undertaken by Congress and President Obama under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. HITECH created new incentive payment programs to help health providers as they transition from paper-based medical records to EHRs. Incentive payments totaling as much as $27 billion may be made under the program. Individual physicians and other eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 through Medicare and almost $64,000 through Medicaid. Hospitals can receive millions.