The Electronic Health Network Accreditation Commission, which the health IT industry sponsors to accredit various types of vendors who demonstrate adherence to best business practices, is launching a new accreditation program covering personal health records and patient portals.

The program comes as the electronic health records meaningful use program in Stages 2 and 3 places a higher priority on patient engagement and online access to their medical records. About 20 vendors that eye expanding their services by becoming health information service providers who offer secure messaging and other protective ways to transmit data asked EHNAC to consider creating an accreditation program, says Lee Barrett, executive director.

Also See: EHNAC Finalizes 2015 Accreditation Criteria

EHNAC worked on the accreditation program with Direct Trust, a self-regulating entity created by vendors offering Direct Protocol secure messaging services. The organizations previously partnered to create an EHNAC-run accreditation program for health information service providers, registration authorities and certification authorities who support secure messaging services.

The new accreditation program is in the pilot stage and EHNAC is seeking participants. Barrett expects to have four pilot companies who will help refine the program requirements, and then determine if the project will go forward. The pilot will be conducted through the fall of 2015, but no timetable for an official launch is yet set.

EHNAC also has a beta program as it seeks to offer accreditation to registries, with an intent to launch it in January 2016. The organization further wants to do more in the areas of privacy and security, particularly with the emergence of cyberattacks. Barrett notes that more than 100 million medical records were breached in the first few months of 2015, compared with 8 million in all of 2014.

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