Health Information Management

OIG report targets EHR certification vulnerabilities

HIM-HIPAA Insider, August 25, 2014

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by Jaclyn Fitzgerald, Editor
The Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) EHR certification test procedures may not have addressed issues such as password complexity, emergency access logs, and changes to user privileges, according to an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report.
Organizations must select an EHR that is certified by an authorized testing and certification body (ATCB) to be eligible to receive meaningful use payments for participation in CMS’ EHR Incentive Programs. The ONC oversees the certification process and develops EHR testing procedures with the help of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The OIG identified risks in the ATCB certification process that may have resulted in organizations attesting to meaningful use using EHRs that do not adequately secure PHI, according to the report.
The OIG found that the ONC did not ensure that ATCBs developed:
  • Procedures to routinely evaluate whether EHRs met federal standards
  • Training programs to ensure personnel were qualified to test and certify EHRs
The OIG recommended in its report that the ONC require ATCBs to develop the appropriate procedures and training programs and work with NIST to develop stronger testing requirements.

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