ONC abandons 2015 voluntary edition of CEHRT

The ONC has dropped its plan for a controversial 2015 voluntary edition of CEHRT, incorporating some of the features of that plan into a Release 2 version of 2014 CEHRT, which providers must use beginning in 2015 to attest to meaningful use of health IT under the federal incentive program.

In a final rule published today in the Federal Register, the ONC said it took steps to improve and make more flexible its criteria for 2014 edition CEHRT, citing its intention to relieve the regulatory burden for stakeholders and promote innovation.

While the ONC will not require technology developers to update their 2014 edition CEHRT to the Release 2 version represented in the final rule, it does encourage them as well as eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to consider the benefits of the new features outlined in the rule. ONC also declared that going forth, the date of the CEHRT edition will reflect the year it was introduced, with no implication for when it must be used.

The Release 2 version of 2014 CEHRT includes 10 optional—one with implications for medical imaging—and two revised certification criteria.

The optional critera include:

• the splitting of CPOE criterion into three criteria based on capabilities (diagnostic imaging, medications and laboratory),

• a transition of care certification criterion that has been decoupled from the transport method criteria,

• three separate transport method certification criteria that correspond to the three transport standards,

• a clinical information reconciliation and incorporation certification criterion, formerly associated with the transition of care criterion, and

• a transmission to public health agencies—syndromic surveillance certification criterion.

In addition, the automated numerator recording certification is now optional.

The ONC also has revised the view, download, transmit to 3rd party criterion and the safety-enhanced design criterion.

A study published in the journal Health Affairs in August reported that although the meaningful use program has promoted the adoption of EHRs by hospitals, only 5.8% of them could meet all stage 2 requirements at the end of 2013.