The Office of the National Coordinator – Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB) is the main certification authority for electronic health record (EHR) technology, namely EHR vendors and consultants within the United States. ONC-ATCB was designated as the primary certification establishment as per the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 under the Federal Stimulus Plan. This certification authority assists all U.S. health agencies and organizations to adopt and update electronic health information technology. ONC-ATCB is also a resource that’s open to the public. The ONC-ATCB is part of the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
ONC-ATCB is expected to certify hundreds of EHR vendors and consultants, which will be an ongoing process. The 2015 nationwide deadline for EHR adoption will likely be extended to envelop all health care agencies, including smaller practices such as those specializing in behavioral health treatment, where issues of privacy make the implementation of EHRs more complicated.
Acceptable EHR vendor certification criteria has been launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those who have either adhered to this criteria and/or passed its testing process become certified by ONC-ATCB and are listed on the Department of Health’s website as complying with its EHR benchmarks. A product list is also included on the website so that health agencies and organizations can purchase software development kits that meet their outpatient/ambulatory EHR needs as well as their inpatient EHR needs. Use of this certification authority’s vendors and product lists is described as the first step in receiving federal incentive payments for Medicare/Medicaid patients and their EHRs. HHS lists a disclaimer in that it does not endorse these products or vendors, but only certifies them.