ONC guidance focuses on providers ineligible for Meaningful Use

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has issued guidance to electronic health record technology developers offering systems to providers not eligible for the Meaningful Use program that enables those providers to share data with ONC-certified EHRs.

The five-page guidance, issued Sept. 9, provides a "building block" for federal agencies and stakeholders to use as they work toward interoperable health information exchange. It identifies the 2014 edition EHR certification criteria pertaining to interoperability, which ONC believes is applicable to many healthcare settings.  

"Healthcare providers eligible to receive incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs will, depending on the stage of meaningful use they seek to achieve, need to have EHR technology certified to these [interoperability health information exchange] criteria," the guidance states. "We encourage EHR technology developers serving ineligible healthcare providers to also seek certification to these criteria."

The certification criteria supporting interoperability identified in the guidance includes the summary care coordination exchange; the other EHR capabilities that support interoperability functions, such as receiving and displaying lab test results; and the 2014 Edition EHR certification criteria for privacy and security of the data being shared.

This guidance is yet another indicator of the Meaningful Use program's reach beyond providers eligible for and participating in the program. However, providers ineligible for the Meaningful Use incentive payments have been slower to adopt EHRs, which could adversely affect care coordination and participants' ability to meet the Meaningful Use requirements regarding data sharing.  

To learn more:
- read the guidance (.pdf)