ONC Certified Electronic Dental Records
To obtain the maximum possible incentive payments from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an eligible dentist must acquire, implement, or upgrade a certified EHR system and demonstrate "Meaningful Use" of that certified EHR system over a number of years.
The current Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC or ONCHIT) EHR Certification Program became fully operational on October 4, 2012. Before that date, EHR products could be certified under the Temporary Certification Program (TCP), which began in 2010.
The Certification Process
Certification and testing activities under the original Temporary Certification Program (TCP) were conducted by ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCBs).
The most significant difference between the TCP and the current ONC HIT Certification Program is that certification and testing activities must now be conducted separately. Certification is now completed by ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs) while testing is performed by Accredited Testing Laboratories (ATLs). It is possible for a single organization to serve as both an ONC-ACB and an -ATL, as long as the organization establishes a firewall between testing and certification activities.
Once the product is certified, the ONC lists the product on its Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL). Several dental EHR products have been certified and may be found in the ambulatory EHR product list at the CHPL site.
Also, an EHR product may be certified as either a complete EHR or as a "Modular" EHR. Complete EHRs meet all the certification criteria for a certain "Edition" of the ONC certification criteria, whereas Modular EHRs require the eligible provider to implement additional software to meet all of the certification requirements. In the CHPL, Modular EHR listings include information about the additional software necessary to satisfy the certification criteria.
Three different sets of EHR testing and certification criteria are used currently by the ONC-ATLs and -ACBs, the 2011 Edition, the 2014 Edition, and the 2015 Edition. Briefly, the 2011 Edition EHR certification criteria cover functionalities and capabilities that eligible providers need in order to attest successfully for Meaningful Use Stage 1. 2014 and 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria cover functionalities and capabilities that eligible providers will need in order to attest successfully for Meaningful Use Stage 2.
ONC EHR Certification Resources
ONC Certification Programs and Policy