The new final rule establishing a temporary government-run program for certifying electronic health records becomes effective on June 24, the date of publication in the Federal Register. That's also the first day that organizations can apply to become an Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ATCB), with the goal to have such entities operational this summer and certifying their first EHRs in the fall, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The final rule is the first of three coordinated final rules, authorized under the HITECH Act, that seek to accelerate the adoption and "meaningful use" of EHRs across the nation. Expected soon are final rules to establish the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs, including criteria for achieving and demonstrating meaningful use; and adoption of pertinent health information technology standards and EHR certification criteria.

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