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ONC Approves NCQA Testing Lab for Health IT Certification

NCQA is the only ONC-authorized testing lab solely focused on testing eCQMs.

NCQA is now an ONC authorized testing lab.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) eMeasure testing lab has been approved by ONC as an Authorized Testing Lab (ONC-ATL).

As an ONC-ATL, NCQA is now approved to test health IT products for the ONC Health IT Certification Program.

NCQA is the only approved alternative to the government-based electronic quality measure testing procedure. Health IT companies can now use the NCQA generated test decks for health IT certification related to electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) reporting as part of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), as well as for NCQA eMeasure certification. NCQA eMeasure certification is used in NCQA’s recognition for Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and as a standard supplement in support of HEDIS reporting.

“As the country moves from fee for service to fee for value, there is an increasing reliance on performance measurement,” said NCQA Chief Information Officer Rick Moore. “NCQA is pleased to provide the industry a rigorous validation of the systems being used to produce these rates.

“We believe our 20-year history of producing HEDIS, the most widely used nationally comparable performance measurement set, offers vendors an assuredness that when they pass our testing, their system is ready to accurately select the correct records for reporting,” he continued.

NCQA’s eMeasure testing lab process is equivalent to the ONC-approved Project Cypress testing tool. NCQA produces hundreds of test cases per measure to validate all measure logic paths and parameters.

NCQA received ONC-ATL approval through the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP).  NVLAP accreditation is required before an entity can become an ATL.

ONC is currently in the midst of implementing its five-year plan to alter and improve its health IT certification program to include testing tools developed by the healthcare industry.

The five-year plan is an effort to fulfill the aims of the 21st Century Cures Act to focus testing resources and better align with real-world, industry-developed testing tools. Already, ONC has approved a testing method proposed by NCQA for eCQMs as an alternative to ONC’s provided test method.

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