The recently released final rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has enabled the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to become more powerful for review oversight and for the certification of electronic health information products including EHR (Electronic Health Record) product. The proposed rule establishes the authority of ONC to de-certify or de-recognize the health products that fail to meet the standard regulations set by the ONC.
In addition to that, ONC will also be able to decide the health products that are to be removed from the market. Reports indicate that vendors will receive a cease-and-desist notice, if ONC de-certifies a certain health product, and plans to remove it from outlets. Furthermore, the agency would also inform the health providers, who have purchased the de-certified product.
The HHS rule allows ONC to take action under two circumstances. The first situation is when a certain health product raises a threat to the public health, and the second scenario is when any of the ONC authorized certification bodies encounter any sort of challenge. The major reason why ONC decided to concentrate just on these certain areas is that they have recognized that there are other health bodies and agencies with jurisdiction over the EHRs.
ONC stated that the estimated cost for this propped rule would be approximately around 7 million dollars per year. This amount is actually a part of ONC’s total estimate budget of $60 million. Reports from several sources indicate that ONC has already requested for an $82 million deposit for the fiscal year 2017.
Apart from the final rule by HHS, ONC also published a latest online guide to help health care providers to understand the discussions with EHR providers and select an EHR product that is suitable for them. The published guide covers different areas such as data management, negotiation tactics, contract standards, and security.
Reports confirm that many of the EHR vendors were accused for utilizing contracts, which were unfavorable for the health providers. CMS is trying to address this concern through the newly proposed guide.