In recent weeks, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has named three additional electronic health record (EHR) authorized testing and certification bodies, aka ONC-ATCBs. The new organizations are ICSA Labs, a security product testing and certification division of Verizon Business based in Mechanicsburg, Pa.; SLI Global Solutions Inc., a Denver-based risk management firm; and Arlington, Va.-based Surescripts LLC, a national e-prescribing network. Those organizations join the Drummond Group Inc., InfoGard Laboratories Inc. and the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), all of which have been busy with their EHR certification efforts. Of these six EHR certification bodies, Surescripts has received ONC authorization to certify only e-prescribing and privacy and security modules. The other five organizations can certify complete EHR systems in addition to modules.
After the stimulus bill passed in 2009, the federal government made it clear that it wanted to open up the EHR certification process; at that time, CCHIT was the lone authorized certification body. So far, so good, it seems, because the ONC-ATCBs’ certified product lists are growing quickly, ensuring that health care providers looking to demonstrate the meaningful use of EHR have plenty of choices.
Providers, of course, should still exercise due diligence in evaluating EHR software. Having a longer list of certified EHR systems, however, makes it easier for them to do some comparison shopping and avoid settling for an ill-fitting system.