Now that EHRs are in wide use, what’s a provider to do if an electronic health record doesn’t do all that it is certified to do?
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT receives comments, questions and even complaints that a certified electronic health record is not performing all of the functions that were required for receiving approval.
ONC’s standards and certification criteria were intended to make sure that EHRs and modules that are certified actually can execute the required functions for meaningful use to improve health care for patients.
ONC has advised in a May 25 announcement that when users have complaints related to certified product functionality, the first step is to share details of the problem by emailing ONC.Certification@hhs.gov. ONC then directs these queries for investigation to one of the six organizations, or ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB), which tested and approved the health IT product.
The ONC-ATCB then works with the EHR vendor to determine whether the product has the functionality to meet the criteria that is being questioned. If the answer is yes, the person who asked the initial question about a particular function is informed. If the answer is no, the product would need to undergo the EHR technology testing and certification process for that functionality again.
This step allows ONC to make sure that the systems and modules on the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) still meet its EHR certification requirements. More than 1,700 EHRs and modules have been certified to date.
Some questions that ONC receives about particular health IT certified products are not really related to functions that they are required to do to gain EHR certification. Examples of these issues include questions about pricing, installation, versioning, application use, customer relations, service issues, contracts and agreements, and integration into existing workflows. Users need to contact the EHR vendor for these types of concerns.
But affected users should also get involved with the health IT federal advisory committees to share their concerns related to EHR standards and certification criteria, ONC said.