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What exactly is a certified EHR?


As you launch your new independent practice, you will need the right tools for providing quality care and running an efficient operation. Technological advances, including electronic health records (EHRs), enable you to deliver excellent care while ensuring that your practice is viable and sustainable. As a new provider, you may be wondering about certified EHR technology and how it can help you and your patients.

Confidence in technology and access to information are the underlying factors behind a certified EHR. The Office of Interoperability and Standards within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) oversees the certified EHR technology program. A major component of their agenda in doing so is to assure users that an EHR system “offers the necessary technological capability, functionality and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria established for a given phase.”

In addition, independent physicians and their patients must be confident that the electronic health IT products and systems they use are secure, can maintain data confidentially, and can work with other systems to share information. This confidence in the certified EHR enables the provider to develop a higher quality patient relationship and provide improved, value-based care.

If you are an eligible provider seeking to qualify for incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, your independent practice is required to use certified EHR technology. Elation Health offers your new independent practice a HIPAA-compliant ONC-certified EHR that provides a clinical-first experience, empowering you as a primary care physician to deliver phenomenal patient care that is based on humanity, not CPT codes.

There are many benefits of using certified EHR technology for your new independent practice.

Improved interoperability, through the adoption of new and updated vocabulary and content standards. This enables the structured capture and exchange of health information. The standards-based electronic exchange supports improved patient care by “ensuring that health care data is consistently available to the right person, at the right place, and at the right time.”

Application access certification criteria, require the technology to demonstrate it can provide application access via an application programming interface (API).

Supporting the patient’s access to their health information, through new functionalities, giving them greater flexibility and choice in how they access and share their health information.

Revised View, Download, and Transmit criterion, which also supports the patient’s ability to access their own health information, including via email transmission to any third party they choose and through a second encrypted method of transmission.

The ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule includes some changes to the existing certification criteria:

  • Introduced new technical certification criteria to advance interoperability and make it easier for patients to access their own electronic health information on their smartphones.
  • Added new privacy and security certification criteria.
  • Revised the standards referenced by several existing 2015 Edition certification criteria, including United States Core Data for Interoperability updates.
  • Removed and time-limited several 2015 Edition certification criteria.

In addition, the new privacy and security certification criteria that have been adopted as part of the 2015 Edition Cures Update require transparency attestations from the developers of certified EHR technology: Encrypt Authentication Credentials and Multi-factor Authentication.

Some certification requirements have been removed or time-limited as ONC works to improve the certification program, focusing on strategies to reduce the burden on the independent physician, offer flexibility to technology developers as well as healthcare providers, and to support innovation in EHR technology.