ONC Certified EHR’s: Key to Securing an Interoperable System

Over the past dozen years, there have been several government initiatives to increase interoperability in EHR software and to do so in ways that are HIPAA-compliant. And make no mistake: The secure sharing of health records is a big deal and a big benefit to patients and providers alike.

HITECH Act Paved the Way for Secure Interoperable Programs

Leading the way in these interoperable initiatives is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act that was signed into law in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Passage of HITECH subsequently led to a cascade of related programs, not the least of which was the creation of the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) as the federal division charged with coordinating efforts to create and utilize health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information.

In addition to increasing patient rights to access their medical information under HIPAA, the HITECH Act also generated EHR Incentive programs – or Promoting Interoperability Programs – previously known as Meaningful Use programs, such as MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) and MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System).

Although promoting interoperable systems continue to require the use of certified health IT as part of demonstrating meaningful use, there is no stand-alone HIPAA compliance “seal of approval” when it comes to Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology.

In fact, ONC certification is currently the only valid certification available to EHR developers to confirm for their current and prospective clients that their product adheres with federal incentive program requirements and complies with HIPAA and HITECH regulations. This is referenced as “being HIPAA compliant” at times.

With this alphabet soup – so many acronyms – how does this actually impact real-world patients and practitioners and keep data safe?

7 Reasons Why ONC Certification is Important for Your Practice When it Comes to Selecting an EHR

  1. It makes electronic prescribing available, which is safer, cheaper, and more convenient for clinicians and patients. It also will make your practice compliant with the SUPPORT Act’s Electronic Controlled Substances Prescription requirements
  2. It supports electronic care transitions, validates referrals to other providers, and gives clinicians clear and secure access to their patients’ records from outside organizations to assist in making the safest and best care possible
  3. It provides a process for patients to get their personal health information while maintaining the confidentiality and decreasing administrative burdens on practice staff
  4. It automates the process of sending data to immunization registries, disease registries, and other mandated reporting databases (again, reducing administrative burdens on staff)
  5. It facilitates the reporting of electronic clinical quality measures to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), state reporting agencies, and payor reporting
  6. Any provider wanting to use Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments to fund their EHR practice must utilize an EHR that has ONC Certification
  7. Various state regulatory and state incentive programs across the country also require the use of ONC-HIT certified EHRs. Providers should determine if their EHR supports the federal and state mandates that apply

Validating your current or future EHR vendor for ONC Certification is easy and free. Search the official ONC certification list, which is maintained by the federal government.

ONC-Certified and HIPAA-Compliant

It’s worth noting that ONC Certification is considered voluntary and is not HIPAA required. You don’t have to have it and there’s no requirement for EHR software vendors to provide it. Technically, ONC certification is optional.

However, it’s not optional for us at Qualifacts’ InSync Healthcare Solutions.


Because our goal isn’t just to provide you with superior EHR software. It’s to provide you with peace of mind by doing everything we can to safeguard your protected health information (PHI). By making sure we’ve taken the necessary steps for the secure exchange of information.

And because, as an industry leader, we understand your data-security concerns and take every measure possible to safeguard the exchange of interoperable health records. That includes providing you with EHR software that is ONC-certified and fully compliant with HIPAA regulations.

For a closer look at how our secure and interoperable software can streamline workflows in your mental health practice, schedule a demo now with one of our experts. We’re happy to answer questions and explain how we can customize our system to meet your specific needs.

Contact an EHR Software Expert

At Qualifacts, we are committed to serving behavioral health, rehabilitative (PT/OT/SLP), and human services organizations by providing top-rated EHR solutions and services. Our team consists of seasoned professionals with hands-on clinical and administrative experience in these vital service areas. We understand the unique challenges you face and are here to assist you in selecting the most suitable solutions for your organization’s needs. Let’s kickstart the conversation that can transform your services. Complete this brief form to get started.