ANSI named authorized accreditor for permanent EHR certification

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has received the nod from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT to become the sole approved accreditor under its permanent electronic health record (EHR) certification program, expected to start in 2012.

In January, ONC issued a final rule to establish the permanent certification program, which eventually will replace the temporary certification program. The temporary certification program will continue to be in effect until it sunsets on Dec. 31, 2011--or at a later date when the processes necessary for the permanent certification program to operate are completed, ONC said.

ANSI will accredit organizations to certify EHR technology and perform other responsibilities under the permanent certification program. In turn, those organizations will verify that EHRs are able to perform the functions required for healthcare providers to meet Meaningful Use requirements and to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentives, reports Government Health IT.

Once an organization is accredited by the approved accreditor, it can apply to ONC to become an ONC-Authorized Certification Body-- or ONC-ACB. ONC said it anticipates the permanent program will have approximately six ONC-ACBs, according to Health Data Management.

Certification bodies operating under the temporary program are required go through the same processes as the other entities if they want to become a certifiers under the permanent program. The selected ONC-ACBs will need to renew their status every three years.

ANSI, which will serve a three-year term as the approved accreditor, currently oversees the creation, regulation, and use of thousands of standards and guidelines used in various business sectors--from acoustical devices to construction equipment, according to its website. ANSI can be reselected by ONC following a new competitive selection process.

For more information:
- see the ONC announcement on permanent certification
- view the Government Health IT article
- read the Health Data Management article
- see the Journal of AHIMA article