ONC releases proposed 2015 EHR technology certification criteria

True to its word, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a proposed rule containing the next edition of electronic health record technology certification criteria.  The proposed rule, to be published in the Federal Register Feb. 26, represents ONC's new approach to update the criteria more frequently in order to include improved standards and improve regulatory clarity, according to a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announcement.

The new certification criteria, known as the "2015 Edition," is the first edition of certification criteria not tied to actual Meaningful Use regulations, and will be voluntary.

"The proposed 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria reflect ONC's commitment to incrementally improving interoperability and efficiently responding to stakeholder feedback," National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said in the announcement. "We will continue to focus on setting policy and adopting standards that make it possible for health care providers to safely and securely exchange electronic health information and for patients to become an integral part of their care team."

The 2015 Edition proposes, among other things:

  • New certification criteria on functionality to support patient population filtering of clinical quality measures
  • Improved interoperability exchange for transitions of care and clinical decision support
  • A path for certification of non-Meaningful Use EHR technology
  • Closer alignment with other HHS program policies and OIG recommendations

Codification of recent ONC regulatory guidance issued after the 2014 Edition was released.

ONC announced its new strategy toward certification when it proposed extending Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program and delaying the launch of Stage 3 in December.

Comments on the proposed 2015 Edition are due by April 28, and the final rule is expected this summer. Notices of Proposed Rulemaking for Stage 3 and the 2017 edition of the certification criteria is expected in the fall.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's a copy of the proposed rule (.pdf)