To help strengthen consumers’ knowledge of health IT products, U.S. Health and Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) proposed a new rule Tuesday morning. The “ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and Accountability” proposal aims to make the health IT experience safer, more transparent, and more accountable to consumers, according to the press release.

This proposal comes a day after ONC released its Report to Congress on Health IT Progress, the group’s roadmap for meeting the goals of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The following rule proposal focuses on three areas, which are outlined in the HHS press release:

Direct Review: Enabling ONC to directly review certified health IT products, including certified electronic health records systems (EHRs), and take necessary action to address circumstances such as potential risks to public health and safety. This will complement existing ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs) responsibilities.

“Enhanced Oversight: Increasing ONC oversight of health IT testing bodies to align with ONC’s existing oversight of ONC-ACBs and provide the means for ONC to quickly, directly, and precisely address testing issues.

“Greater Transparency and Accountability: Making identifiable surveillance results of certified health IT publicly available to provide customers and users with valuable information about the overall performance of certified health IT, including illuminating good performance and continued compliance.”

“Today’s proposed rule will help us ensure that health IT products and the health IT marketplace are continuing to meet the needs of the health care system,” said Karen B. DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology assistant secretary for health, in a press release. “We look forward to comments on the proposed rule from health IT developers and other stakeholders as we continue to work together to make health information available where and when it is needed safely and reliably.”

The ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and Accountability proposed rule comment period ends on May 2.


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