On Oct. 6, 2015, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released the final rules for Stage 3 of the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. Through this rulemaking, the agencies hoped to simplify requirements and add some new flexibilities for providers.
Many in the health IT sector and the health professional community view electronic health records as both a blessing and a curse. EHRs have significantly improved documentation and dissemination of patients' clinical information, streamlined certain tasks and improved safety in areas such as medication management. But EHRs also have made some aspects of health care providers' workload more time consuming than in the "paper" days and sometimes compromise patient safety.
The 2015 Edition Final Test Method has been posted and can be accessed on the ONC Health IT Certification Program webpage.
The Final Test Method outlines the requirements for evaluating conformance of health IT Modules to the certification criteria defined in the ONC 2015 Edition Final Rule (45 CFR Part 170 Subpart II) published in the Federal Register on October 16, 2015.
About two-thirds of the 100 largest U.S.
CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT issued a request for information seeking input on policy options to strengthen the testing and certification of electronic health records used for reporting quality measures,
"Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both "direct access" (i.e. unassisted) and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers)."
Below is the text from ONC regarding this new requirement:
ONC issued a Federal Register notice to provide corrections (e.g., corrects cross-references and citation omissions) and clarifications for the final rule entitled “2015 Edition Health Information Technology (Health IT) Certification Criteria, 2015 Edition Base Electronic Health Record (EHR) Definition, and ONC Health IT Certification Program Modifications.” These corrections and clarifications will eliminate confusion and ambiguity, permitting stakeholders to better understand, implement, and comply with the final rule. The final rule and notice are effective January 14, 2016.
On Oct. 16, 2015, CMS published a long-awaited final rule that modifies the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program (aka meaningful use) requirements for 2015 through 2017 and establishes requirements for Stage 3, which starts in 2018. While CMS "finalizes" Stage 3 requirements within this final rule, the agency has signaled that these regulations are not set in stone. The public may submit feedback for the Stage 3 requirements until Dec. 15.