Certified EHR Technology

In order to efficiently capture and share patient data, health care providers need an electronic health record (EHR) that stores data in a structured format. Structured data allows health care providers to easily retrieve and transfer patient information and use the EHR in ways that can aid patient care.

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have established standards and other criteria for structured data that EHRs must meet in order to qualify for use in the Promoting Interoperability Programs.

For calendar year (CY) 2021, in order to be considered a meaningful user and avoid a downward payment adjustment, eligible hospitals and CAHs may use (1) existing 2015 Edition certification criteria, (2) the 2015 Edition Cures Update criteria, or (3) a combination of the two in order to meet the CEHRT definition, as finalized in the CY 2021 PFS final rule (85 FR 84818 through 84828).

For CY 2021, the CEHRT functionality must be in place by the first day of the EHR reporting period and the product must be certified by the last day of the EHR reporting period. The eligible hospital or CAH must be using their selected version’s functionality for the full EHR reporting period. In many situations the product may be deployed but pending certification.

ONC’s 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule made several changes to the existing 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. The following changes constitute the 2015 Edition Cures Update:

  • Introduced new technical certification criteria to advance interoperability and make it easier for patients to access their own electronic health information on their smartphones.
  • Added new privacy and security certification criteria.
  • Revised the standards referenced by several existing 2015 Edition certification criteria, including United States Core Data for Interoperability updates.
  • Removed and time-limited several 2015 Edition certification criteria.

To learn more about the 2015 Edition Cures Update, please review ONC's 21st Century Cures Act final rule. To check whether a health IT product has been certified to the 2015 Edition Cures Update criteria, visit the Certified Health IT Product List.

Health care providers participating in the Promoting Interoperability Programs must attest to certain statements to demonstrate that they have not knowingly and willfully taken action to limit or restrict the compatibility or interoperability of their CEHRT. Collectively, these statements are referred to as the "prevention of information blocking attestation." For more details on information blocking review this fact sheet (PDF).

Additional Resources

Page Last Modified:
04/09/2021 07:52 AM