EHNAC Continues Down Network Accreditation Path

As featured in Government Health IT

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission continues to rollout accreditation programs but is not immediately seeking to become an electronic health records certification body.

EHNAC, a non-profit standards development and accreditation organization, recently finalized 2010 accreditation criteria for a number of programs. Those include its application service provider accreditation program for electronic health records, the e-prescribing accreditation program, and the healthcare network accreditation program for electronic health networks.

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) is expected to soon disclose a process through which multiple organizations could certify EHR technology. At present, only the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) serves as an officially designated EHR certification body.

Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC, said the organization developed the application service provider EHR program in response to a request from the Maryland Health Care Commission.

“We don’t believe that CCHIT is focusing on [application service providers] which is why we agreed to develop this program and focus on this stakeholder,” Barrett said. “We continue to support the efforts of CCHIT and to work collaboratively with them.”

“As such, EHNAC has not sought to become one of the EHR certification bodies under ONC,” he added.

Barrett, however, didn’t exclude certification as a future direction. “EHNAC is always evaluating industry needs and requirements and doesn’t rule out the possibility in the future, should it become clear that a significant need exists that cannot be addressed by other entities or if approached by ONC and others,” he said.

The organization, meanwhile, is readying draft criteria for an accreditation program for health information exchanges (HIEs). Development of that program began in 2008. At the time, EHNAC announced an accreditation effort for HIEs and regional health information organizations. The program aims to assess such areas privacy, security, technical performance and business practices.

EHNAC expects the draft criteria to be released for a 60-day public comment period in February, with the criteria finalized during the second quarter.