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ONC and Surescripts Help EHRs Say Goodbye to Duplicate Testing Efforts — and Hello to Focusing on Prescriber Needs

Good news for electronic health records (EHR) software vendors looking to get certified and save time: Surescripts has been named by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as a program partner for Electronic Prescribing and approved as an alternative test method to the ONC-Authorized Testing Laboratory (ONC-ATL). In other words, EHR vendors who complete Surescripts certification testing for E-Prescribing will also achieve ONC certification for the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs’ (NCPDP) SCRIPT 10.6 standard.

Steve Posnack, Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT, commented about this strategic—and simplified—move, saying “The addition of the Surescripts test method adds a new flexibility within the current alternative test method approval process, and lays the groundwork for future ONC-Surescripts collaboration.” He also pointed out that testing by ONC program partners such as Surescripts provides additional streamlined pathways for developers to demonstrate conformance with ONC Health IT Certification Program requirements in lieu of testing directly with an ONC-ATL.

ONC is committed to adopting more efficiencies in testing resources, which is demonstrated in their goal to transition the ONC Health IT Certification Program’s testing portfolio to as many industry-developed and maintained testing tools as possible. This goal positions ONC to better align with industry-developed testing tools that support real-world testing as envisioned by the 21st Century Cures Act.

As part of ONC’s 170.315 (b)(3) criterion and related standards, which Surescripts supports, ONC Health IT certification is required for prescribers to earn incentives and avoid penalties from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) based on their use of technology that facilitates electronic prescribing.

Surescripts has worked closely with ONC for many years to align our certification requirements and ultimately deliver more value across the Surescripts Network AllianceTM. As an ONC program partner, we expect to update this partnership as the transition to NCPDP SCRIPT v2017071 occurs next year.

Ultimately, this announcement allows EHRs to focus on prescriber needs, and in turn, prescribers to focus on patients—which is good news indeed.

Want to learn more? Read about how this new designation impacts EHRs. If you’re a prescriber, you can learn more about our E-Prescribing solutions and look up which EHR vendors are already certified with Surescripts.

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