Permanent EHR Certification Program (ONC-ACB) Delayed – Is Meaningful Use Stage 2 Delay Next?

Posted on November 4, 2011 I Written By

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It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me to see the news (yes it’s a couple days old now) that the permanent EHR certification program (where ONC-ATCB becomes ONC-ACB) has been delayed. It was set to sunset at the end of this year and it would essentially convert into the permanent EHR certification program.

ONC’s Farzad Mostashari put out a letter describing the delay in implementing the permanent EHR certification program in this letter. Here’s one portion of the letter:

ONC pushed the plan back after it consulted with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which ONC selected as its approved accreditor (ONC-AA) earlier this year, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which administers the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). ANSI and NIST said they needed more time to complete the approval of testing labs and certification organizations and ONC to review the applications of the certifiers.

Part of the reasoning for this was for the permanent EHR certification to coincide with the final rule for meaningful use stage 2. I guess it makes sense.

The real challenge I have when thinking about the change from temporary to permanent status is, what will really change? To me this feels mostly like a bureaucratic requirement as opposed to some change that actually provides some sort of benefit.

Will an ONC-ACB provide something of more value than a ONC-ATCB does now? I think not. Will EHR vendors go through a different process with an ONC-ACB compared with what they do now with the ONC-ATCB? I can’t imagine they will. Seems the only ones that should be concerned with this are the ONC-ATCB’s.

Plus, if meaningful use stage 2 gets delayed, then will the permanent EHR certification get delayed again too? Now your ears perk up. Not because anyone cares about the permanent EHR certification, but because a delay in meaningful use stage 2 would be something of note.