More Robust Health IT Testing Recommended

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The American Hospital Association issued a statement and letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supporting a proposal for more transparent surveillance of certified health IT products.

In the statement, the AHA announced its support for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s proposal for more transparent surveillance of certified health IT products, and recommends that the agency prioritize actions that will increase confidence in the certified products.

“Given the significant investments hospitals have made already, the AHA recommends a more robust testing and certification infrastructure as a starting point to improve the certification program,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “Additionally, as part of the conformance testing infrastructure, the AHA renews the call for the federal government to support processes that permit the end user to access the testing infrastructure.” Among other actions, AHA recommends ONC and its authorized certification bodies “establish a process in which providers can offer feedback on certified health IT.”

In the letter, the AHA notes its most recent survey data indicates that, by 2014, 75% of hospitals had at least a basic EHR in place, which is almost five times the share in 2010. “The AHA strongly believes that the primary goal of the federal certification program is to give health care providers the assurance that certified health IT products will perform as described and are fit for their intended purpose – enabling clinicians at hospitals to quickly and easily document and review the care they provide; order medications, labs and other tests; and share the information with other clinicians and patients in support of safe and effective care. In order to revise the health IT certification program to accomplish this goal, the AHA supports the ONC’s proposal for increased transparency of surveillance results. We recommend that ONC prioritize actions that will increase confidence in the certification criteria and testing of health IT. Finally, the AHA recommends that ONC support existing initiatives to develop a framework to identify health IT safety incidents to inform certification and surveillance.”

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