Frequently Asked Questions

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To meet the meaningful use objective "capability to exchange key clinical information" for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, can different providers of care (e.g., physicians, hospitals, etc.) share EHR technology and successfully meet this objective?

In order to meet this objective, clinical information must be sent between different legal entities with distinct certified EHR technology and not between organizations that share a certified EHR technology or organizations that are part of the same legal entity, since no actual exchange of clinical information would take place in these latter instances. Distinct certified EHR technologies are those that can achieve certification and operate independently of other certified EHR technologies. It is possible for different legal entities to meet this objective by using separate instances of the same certified EHR technology (e.g. both entities using separate license of the same program), subject to the following limitations:
A different legal entity is an entity that has its own separate legal existence.  Indications that two entities are legally separate would include (1) they are each separately incorporated; (2) they have separate Boards of Directors; and (3) neither entity is owned or controlled by the other. In order to be distinct certified EHR technology, each instance of certified EHR technology must be able to be certified and operate independently from all others. Separate instances of certified EHR technology that must link to a common database in order to gain certification would not be considered distinct. However, instances of certified EHR technology that link to a common, uncertified system or component would be considered distinct. Instances of certified EHR technology can be from the same vendor and still be considered distinct. The exchange of key clinical information requires that the eligible professional, eligible hospital, or critical access hospital (CAH) must use the standards of certified EHR technology as specified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, not the capabilities of uncertified or other vendor-specific alternative methods for exchanging clinical information. For more information about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, please

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