Five firms have been accredited to apply to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to be named electronic health records certifying bodies under the permanent certification program supporting the EHR meaningful use program.

The first five prospective certification bodies are the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, Drummond Group, ICSA Laboratories, InfoGard Laboratories and Orion Register. All but Orion Register currently participate in the Stage 1 meaningful use program under a temporary certification program.

ONC in 2011 named the American National Standards Institute as the ONC-Approved Accreditor for the permanent certification program. The ONC-Approved Accreditor, or ONC-AA, is the entity that accredits organizations wishing to be a certification body under the permanent certification program. The five firms that ANSI has accredited now can apply to ONC to certify EHRs under the permanent program.

ONC expects to start the permanent EHR meaningful use certification program this summer. A new and welcomed feature of the permanent program will be the ability of EHR vendors to certify only applicable new or updated certification criteria, called “gap certification,” rather than having to get an entire EHR or EHR Module recertified.

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