ONC names Surescripts to certify EHR modules


By Mary Mosquera

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has named electronic prescribing network provider Surescripts as an organization that can test and approve certain electronic health records modules, bringing to a total of six the groups authorized under ONC’s temporary certification program.

Surescripts, based in Arlington, Va., will verify that EHR modules for e-prescribing and privacy and security meet meaningful use standards and certification criteria, ONC said in a Dec. 23 announcement.

In October, Surescripts began to expand its e-prescribing network to offer health information exchange services for all types of clinical information. The Surescripts network will let EHRs, health system networks and smaller exchanges connect to its national backbone, which in turn can connect them with any other network.

The e-prescriber already connects healthcare providers with retail pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers.

As an ONC-Authorized Temporary Certification Body (ATCB), Surescripts joins the Certification Commission for Health IT (CCHIT), the Drummond Group, InfoGard Labs, ICSA Labs and SLI Global Solutions. All but Surescripts may certify both complete EHRs and EHR modules, ONC said.

The temporary program, which expires in December 2011, is designed to ensure health IT vendors have their products and services certified in time for providers to meet 2011 deadlines for qualifying for first stage meaningful use requirements.

ONC’s Certified Health IT Product List includes more than 150 EHRs and modules that the authorized groups have certified to date since September, as well as the criteria they cover.

Certification assures healthcare providers that the EHR technology they acquire can perform the functions they need to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program. Physicians and hospitals that become meaningful users of certified EHRs and modules are eligible for incentive payments under the HITECH Act.

ONC is developing a permanent certification program, in which separate organizations will perform testing and certification activities, for subsequent years of the incentive program.

This article was originally posted at http://govhealthit.com/newsitem.aspx?tid=77&nid=75774