Is ONC Stonewalling on the issue of HIT Certification, Safety and Liability?

At my Feb. 16, 2012 post "Hospitals and Doctors Use Health IT at Their Own Risk - Even if Certified" I wrote that an ONC-ATCB (Authorized Testing and Certification Body) replied to my email inquiry about health IT certification, safety and liability indemnification by stating that:

What was suggested in the email below (freedom from liability for users of the system, etc.) would be out of scope for ONC-ATCB testing based on the given criteria.

[That is, the criteria used in testing
here - ed.]

What I did not include in that post was the fact that some months ago, I had emailed ONC directly with the same questions, and then called them on the phone with those questions at about the same time as I inquired of the ATCB.

ONC itself never responded.

There are several possibilities:

  • They don't know the answer.
  • They don't want to respond.
  • They don't care to respond.

Dismissing possibility #1, these civil servants appear to be stonewalling on the issue.

It would be nice to hear ONC itself admit the term "certification" is a gossamer guarantee of health IT safety, efficacy and indemnification of purchasers, implementers and users from potential EHR-related liability.

I am not holding my breath.

-- SS


An ONC representative did get back to me on Feb. 27, but I told them my question had already been answered by ONC ATCB's.