ONC ATCB EHR Certification Process

Ok, was that enough abbreviations in the title of a post? Well, if you care about this post, you’ll probably recognize all of the abbreviations.

In a post I did on EMR and HIPAA about SureScripts as an ePrescribing ATCB, there was a comment made that possibly some of the ATCB were “in bed” with ONC in order to get their EHR certification body status. In response to the comment, Mark Joyce from SLI Global Solutions (an ATCB) provided some good insight into the process and costs associated with becoming an ATCB that can certify EHR software.

As the team lead for SLI’s application to the ONC I can assure you that our company has no political connections, traded favors or made contributions that won us our certification by the ONC. It was 10 weeks of grueling research by two independent companies (one company focusing on testing and the other certification) that resulted in a 1200 page application.

The application was in two parts: part one required both companies to expand and/or create a Quality Management System for the new process. It’s no easy task to develop both a 17025 and a Guide 65 conformant QMS. Part two required the applicant to have a thorough understanding of EHR architectures as well the NIST testing procedures and tools.

It was evident by the followup questions from the ONC that the application had been very carefully reviewed.

Obtaining certification from the ONC was no easy task. I am proud to be a part of our companies significant investment in the ATCB testing and certification process.

Yes, becoming an ONC-ATCB is definitely not a walk in the park to achieve. Anyone that says otherwise, likely hasn’t ever been through the process.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Way to stay on top of things, John. With the help of industry leaders like Mark Joyce of SLI Global Solutions, you are bringing transparency to issues in healthcare reform that have yet to see tha light of day. That’s a service patients and doctors alike.


  • Thanks John; not much information on Meaningful Use related Certifications and the Certifying companies have been out there.
    MU Certification Process by itself was not a walk in the park either. And that too when you are going in for the Complete Certification, like John had mentioned in previous posts, its not only the $30+K fees that’s involved but also the months of work that development team has to devote to meet all the requirements. When you add all that up and the time spent during the testing process itself, its significant. We went through this process at Enable Healthcare and we consider this as a milestone in our short 5 year history.
    ONC had to start somewhere to take the paper based operations that has been in place to the ‘structured data’ environment; its a good start. And yesterday ONC announced the Permanent Certification that will be put in place by early 2012. These are steps that will certainly make sure there is certain required levels of inter-operability and standards in place for the EHRs to function the way this was envisioned to maximize/leverage power of data for better healthcare.

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