January 6, 2011
The ONC has issued a final rule to establish a permanent certification
program for the purpose of certifying health information technology. Under the
permanent certification program, organizations may obtain accreditation to
certify electronic health record (EHR) technology.
The meaningful use of certified EHR technology is a core requirement for
healthcare providers looking to qualify for incentive payments under the
Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. According to the ONC, the
certification program is designed to enhance certification of health information
technology by increasing the comprehensiveness, transparency, reliability and
efficiency of current processes used to certify EHR technology.
ONC anticipates that testing and certification under the permanent
certification program will begin Jan. 1, 2012. On June 24, 2010, ONC issued the
Establishment of the Temporary Certification Program for Health Information
Technology Final Rule. According to the ONC, the temporary certification program
was designed to assure the availability of certified EHR technology prior to the
date on which health care providers could seek the incentive payments and report
demonstrable meaningful use of certified EHR technology. As provided in the
temporary certification program rule, the temporary program will sunset on Dec.
31, 2011, or at a subsequent date if the permanent certification program is not
fully constituted at that time.
ONC plans to officially publish the final rule in the Federal Register on
Jan. 7, 2011. The permanent certification rule will take effect 30 days after
publication. More information about the permanent certification program,
including details regarding testing and certification of EHR technology, is
available at the