The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has posted the first of a series of draft test scenarios to assess the real-world usability of electronic health-record systems in the upcoming Stage 2 of the federal EHR incentive payment program.
Meanwhile, EHR vendors, testing and certification bodies and the government are making progress toward having complete electronic health-record systems ready for use by providers to qualify for Stage 2 EHR incentive payments,
The use of the new ONC-prepared test scenarios are optional— that is, they're not required for EHR developers to pass in order for their systems to qualify for use under the federal EHR incentive payment program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The ONC's aim with the scenarios, however, is to ensure developers' systems can achieve “a clinically plausible test flow” of data, according to an ONC announcement
The ONC is asking for public comment
on the first scenario, called intake. It tests EHRs on their ability to receive from an outside source such information as problem, medication and allergy lists. Other scenarios, also optional, will be developed, according to the ONC.
The use of scenarios is a back-to-the-future approach, harkening to programs used during the Bush administration, when the executive branch of the federal government was trying to promote the use of EHRs without the fiscal inducements Congress would put in place in 2009 with the ARRA.