Scrambling to meet the end of year deadline set forth in the ARRA HITECH statute, HHS hits the mark with its release of the interim final 45 CFR Part 170, Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology. I will have more to say about the contents over the coming days and weeks as I review it.
My initial reaction is that the content is pretty good — it’s not very precise nor is it actually independently verifiable (yet) but the folks at HHS have done well. The meat of the materials for most EHR firms starts on page 51 with the actual meaningful use and certification requirements map. In yesterday’s press conference Dr. Blumenthal confirmed that no certification body requirements language is yet present and there are no certifying bodies that have been authorized to perform certifications against this criteria. All of that is “coming soon” he said. So, while the interim rules are out, my caution is that you should still not be bullied by EMR vendors because nobody can say that they are HHS certified yet.