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 Certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) Technology

Confidence in health information technology (IT) systems is an important part of advancing health IT adoption and realizing the benefits of improved patient care. The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology website states that “providers and patients must be confident that the electronic health information technology products and systems they use are secure, can maintain data confidentiality, can work with other systems to share patient information, and can perform a set of well-defined functions.” Regulations and guidance for EHR technology standards and certification have been issued for the purpose of ensuring that certified EHR products meet these criteria. Receiving incentive money through the Texas Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program requires the use of certified EHR technology.

CMS and ONC Guidance on Certified EHR Technology

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does it mean that an EHR technology product is certified?
  2. What are some of the criteria that must be met for an EHR product to become certified?
  3. How do I determine whether my EHR is certified?
  4. If my product is currently not on the list, what do I do?

1.  What does it mean that an EHR technology product is certified?

To provide assurance to eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) that the EHR technology they adopt will assist their achievement of meaningful use, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) developed a certification program for EHR technology. It also established how outside organizations can become ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCBs).

ONC-ATCBs are required to test and certify that certain EHR technologies are compliant with the standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria adopted by the HHS Secretary and meet the definition of “certified EHR technology.” The ONC-ATCBs certify complete EHR systems and EHR modules. It should be noted that to qualify for incentives, providers who use a combination of EHR modules must install an appropriate combination of modules that fully supports meaningful use criteria and qualifies for a CMS EHR Certification Number.

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2.  What are some of the criteria that must be met for an EHR product to become certified?

The testing criteria that each certified EHR must pass include over 45 test points. Some key points are whether the EHR:

  • Can incorporate lab test results.
  • Can maintain an active medication list as well as a medication allergy list.
  • Includes a drug-drug / drug-allergy interaction check.
  • Provides data encryption when exchanging electronic information.
  • Delivers electronic discharge instructions.
  • Calculates and submits clinical quality measures.

Full listing of all testing requirements

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3.  How do I determine whether my EHR is certified?

All EHR systems and technology must be certified specifically for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and its authorized certification organizations. The Certified Health IT Product List is available at www.healthit.hhs.gov/CHPL. This is a list of all complete EHRs and EHR modules that have been certified for the purposes of this program.

Instructions on how to use the website and obtain a CMS EHR Certification Number

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4.  If my product is currently not on the list, what do I do?

Talk to your EHR vendor about their plans and timeline for getting certified, or consider upgrading to a certified EHR system. Vendors can submit their EHR products to the certifying bodies to be tested and certified – complete EHRs as well as EHR modules that meet at least one of the certification criteria. Hospitals and practices that have developed their own EHR systems or products can also seek to have their existing systems or products tested and certified. Once a product is certified, the name of the product will be published on the ONC web site: www.healthit.hhs.gov/CHPL.

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