Federal officials should finalize new electronic health records certification criteria at least two years before providers are expected to use the new functionality, according to the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

CHIME on March 15 sent a comment letter to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on the interim final rule that establishes an initial set of data standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria for electronic health records. This rule was published in January and is separate from a proposed rule published in March that would establish EHR certification programs.

CHIME, in earlier comments on the meaningful use rule, urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to adopt a grandfather provision under which existing EHRs that hospitals use could be accepted as certified for a period of two years. Now, CHIME asks ONC to provide technical support to CMS in crafting such a provision.

The organization also asks for clarifying language describing how certification will apply to organizations that use multiple clinical systems as components to an overall electronic health record system. For CHIME's comment letter, click here.

--Joseph Goedert


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