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      2 min read

      What Is The ONC Certification Program and Why Should it Matter to You?

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      Its name is a convoluted mouthful: The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). But it has a purpose: To support the adoption of health IT across the entire health spectrum. This matters because it involves protections for your EHR and the data of your patients.

      The ONC Health IT Certification Program Is 'Voluntary,' But Can You Do Without It?

      To facilitate the adoption of certified Health IT products, ONC offers its HIT Certification Program, which provides a certification framework for those who are responsible for the planning, selecting, implementing, and managing of EHR and other health information technology.

      Technically, the program is "voluntary." Officially, that's how the ONC describes it. But before dismissing the certification outright, you might want to consider this:

      While the process to obtain certification is voluntary, it is currently the only valid certification available to EHR developers that confirms to their current and prospective clients that their product adheres with federal incentive program requirements and complies with HIPAA and HITECH regulations.

      The 21st Century Cures Act also reinforces the use of certified EHR technology. As additional milestones in that legislation roll out, it will become more vital that providers utilize a certified vendor.

      Various state incentive programs across the country also require the use of ONC-HIT certified EHRs. Providers should determine if their EHR supports the federal and state mandates that apply.

      New call-to-actionCertification Supports Security Measures Advanced by HITECH Act and HIPAA

      It's worth noting that any provider wanting to use Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments must utilize an EHR that has passed ONC's voluntary certification process. This is commonly referenced as being "HIPAA compliant".

      ONC Certification is essentially a product-conformity assessment for health IT based on the principles of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) framework. The certification is part of the HITECH Act of 2009, improving the privacy and security protections for healthcare data and strengthening HIPAA.

      The certification program supports the Promoting Interoperability Programs (previously Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs) administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Promoting Interoperability Programs continue to require the use of certified health IT as part of demonstrating meaningful use.

      Requirements for certification are established by standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria. This certification program supports the availability of certified health IT for its encouraged and required use under other federal, state, and private programs.

      Certification criteria categories include:

      • Patient Engagement

      • Public Health

      • Health IT design & Performance

      • Electronic Exchange

      • Clinical Processes

      • Care Coordination

      • Clinical Quality Measurement

      • Privacy & Security

      Stay Compliant with InSync Healthcare Solutions

      If you'd like to receive email updates on health IT certification criteria as it changes, subscribe to our blog and never miss a healthcare news story.

      At InSync Healthcare Solutions, we are health IT developers, and we provide secure electronic health record EHR software that is HIPAA-compliant across all platforms -- from telehealth and e-prescriptions to patient data and internal messaging. That means your patients don't have to worry about compromised data, and because we continually monitor government mandates to keep our software current, neither do you.

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      For a closer look at how InSync's EHR software can support your efforts to become more compliant, schedule a demo with one of our experts who'll be happy to field any questions you might have. 

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