Home > EHR, meaningful use, Medicare > ONC Publishes the Final ‘2014 Edition Release 2’ EHR Certification Criteria

ONC Publishes the Final ‘2014 Edition Release 2’ EHR Certification Criteria

The Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) published its final rule to promulgate the “2014 Edition Release 2” EHR certification criteria for health IT products used in the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Importantly, this final rule corresponds with the “2015 Edition” proposed rule released for comment last February. ONC elected to change the version titles of the EHR certification criteria to correspond with the calendar year in which they are finalized, not the year in which they become mandatory for EHR Incentive Program participants. Incremental updates to existing certification criteria will henceforth be called “releases.”

If you think this version title change is confusing now, just wait until the “2015 Edition” EHR certification criteria proposed rule is published for comment later this year (hint: it will not be the same content as last February’s proposed rule). The upcoming rulemaking was previously slated to be called the “2017 Edition,” and will be released simultaneously with the CMS EHR Incentive Program/Meaningful Use (MU) “Stage 3” proposed rule.

Importantly, the “2014 Edition Release 2” is mechanically different than what was proposed for the “2015 Edition.” Instead of being an incomplete and voluntary set of alternative criteria to the 2014 Edition—as the 2015 Edition was proposed to be—all newly added certification criteria in Release 2 will be deemed optional, and any revisions to previous criteria made in Release 2 are considered to be clarifications/additive to what was already required.

While the necessity of this rulemaking has been (rightfully) called into question by many, it does contain several improvements over what was proposed in the 2015 Edition proposed rule. For instance, Release 2 finalizes ONC’s proposal to separate the three unrelated order types (diagnostic imaging, lab-tests, and medications) into three separate certification criteria, which allows specialized CPOE software to achieve certification for only one order type instead of needing to package the functionality to order all three disparate order types. (More information: www.PharmaWatchDogs.com) Also, ONC chose to not finalize the “Non-MU certification” and “certification packages” concepts that were in the proposed rule—these concepts, as proposed, promised mass confusion for little practical benefit. ONC also finalized its proposal to eliminate “Complete EHR” certification status (starting with the next edition), which should help clear up any confusion in the specialty IT industry about whether ONC’s HIT certification program is for their products too.

The ACR Government Relations Department is reviewing the ONC’s final rule and will publish a regulatory summary in the near future. Also, note that Dr. David Hunt from ONC staff will be on hand to discuss the government’s efforts related to nationwide EHR technology adoption at the ACR’s fourth annual Imaging Informatics Summit on October 29-30, 2014 (event/registration information: acrinformatics.org).

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Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

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