2015 EHR Certification Criteria Proposed Rule Released

Marking the beginning of the The Office of The National Coordinator For Health Information Technology’s (ONC’s) increased frequency in health information technology certification regulations, the ONC released proposals for 2015 Electronic Health Record (EHR) certification criteria.  Importantly the criteria are voluntary and the ONC emphasized in the proposed rule that EHR technology developers who certified to the 2014 criteria would not need to re-certify and providers would not need to upgrade to the 2015 edition to meet the certified EHR technology definition.

According to the proposed rule, ONC believes the more frequent rulemaking will address “the amount of time that it takes to publish updates to our certification regulations and the corresponding impact that the infrequent, long-cycle approach has had on EHR technology development and deployment.”  The ONC noted that it anticipates new rulemaking to be done every 12 to 18 months.

The executive summary to the proposed rule explains that the 2015 criteria are not meant to be a major overhaul and that roughly 60% of the 2014 criteria are maintained.  The proposed rule breaks down the changes into four categories: (1) clarifying revisions; (2) standards updates; (3) restructuring; and (4) a “few” new certification criteria.

The HHS Press Release regarding the 2015 EHR certification criteria notes the proposed rule will be published in the February 26, 2014 Federal Register, with comments due by April 28 and a final rule expected in the summer of 2014.

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