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Health Information Technology Standards

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) - Certification Program

ONC established the Permanent Certification Program in 2011. The permanent certification program provides new features that will enhance the certification of health information technology, including increasing the comprehensiveness, transparency, reliability, and efficiency of the current processes used for the certification of EHR technology. Meaningful Use of "Certified EHR Technology" is a core requirement for eligible health care providers who seek to qualify to receive incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs as authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Features of the permanent certification program include:

  • Organizations must first be accredited in order to test and/or certify health information technology;
  • Certification bodies authorized by ONC Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs) are required to conduct post-certification surveillance; and
  • ONC-ACBs are permitted to perform "gap certification."

Certification of Health IT provides assurance to purchasers and other users that an EHR system, or other relevant technology, offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria established for a given phase. Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals who seek to qualify for incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are required by statute to use Certified EHR Technology.