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A new window for using certified health IT

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In Section 3009A of the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 (Cures Act), Congress established the Electronic Health Record Reporting Program and required healthcare IT developers participating in the ONC Health IT certification program to publicly provide certain information about to report their certified health IT products in line with a new “Condition for Maintaining Certification”. The aim of this program is to make the market more competitive by providing publicly available comparative information on the capabilities and uses of certified EHR systems. ONC has taken a two-pronged approach to implementing the EHR reporting program and today we are excited to unveil the draft edition of the second track.

In 2018, ONC commissioned the Urban Institute (Urban) to develop the first track: voluntary (under the Cures Act), user-reported actions that cover the areas of interoperability, usability and security of certified healthcare IT. These Actions are now available for adoption by stakeholders such as healthcare providers, academic researchers, and industry.

In the July 14, 2021 HITAC meeting, we have released a draft of a series of healthcare IT developer policies for the condition of the EHR reporting program to maintain certification under the Cures Act. The aim of the measures reported by developers is to close information gaps on the healthcare IT market and to provide insights into the use of certified healthcare IT.

ONC also hired Urban and its subcontractor HealthTech Solutions to develop this draft developer policy. Urban and HealthTech Solutions examined the certified health IT landscape, interviewed stakeholders and considered a variety of possible measures that could be part of the program.

In recognition of this work and in line with our priorities, ONC has taken a step-by-step approach to this new condition and certification maintenance requirement. We focused this first set of developer reported actions on health data interoperability, highlighting four fundamental areas:

  1. Patient access;
  2. Exchange of information on clinical care;
  3. Exchange of information on public health and
  4. Adoption of standards and conformity measures.

Now it’s your turn: go to the to Urban website and commentary on the measures before the public feedback phase ends on September 14, 2021.

Urban will refine the draft measures based on your inputs and send a final sentence to ONC. Once an initial version of the measures has been finalized, the ONC must initiate the establishment of rules for notices and comments in order to fully implement the requirement of the EHR reporting program of the Cures Act to maintain certification. Implementing this condition of maintaining certification can provide the public with greater insight into the impact government action and investment, as well as private sector investment, have on the use of standards and interoperability for patients, clinicians, and the public health sector.


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