ONC releases first drafts of test procedures for Stage 2 of MU

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has posted its first set, or "wave," of draft test procedures and applicable test data files for the 2014 edition of electronic health record certification criteria.

The draft procedures, which are being developed with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will be available for public comment for two weeks after being released, according to ONC's website. The first wave covers 14 certifications, including computerized provider order entry, drug formulary checks, smoking status and automatic log off. It also includes draft procedures for the optional accounting for disclosures certification.

Additional "waves" of procedures will be released during September and October.

Once procedures are finalized and approved, they'll be used to test and verify EHRs under the HIT certification program and evaluate EHRs against the 2014 requirements. ONC expects the final procedures to be available in early 2013.

Providers must use certified EHRs in order to meet Meaningful Use and earn the incentive payments. Once the Permanent Certification Program is fully implemented this fall, testing and certification activities will be performed by separate entities. Testing will be performed by Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs), and certification will be conducted by ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies.

ONC's final rule implementing Stage 2's certification requirements, published in the Federal Register Sept. 4, also updated the certification program to make it easier and more efficient, and changed the name of the permanent certification program to "ONC HIT Certification Program."    

To learn more:
- here are the draft test procedures
- here's the draft test procedure for accounting for disclosures
- read ONC's certification rule