June 11, 2018 | Sheila Cougras

3 min read

Benefits of Modular Certification

Heard of MIPS?

The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is one of two tracks under the Quality Payment Program, which seeks to combine and streamline existing compliance programs with a goal of easing clinical burden while promoting quality care. In most cases, providers serving in Employee Health and Occupational Medicine don’t qualify to participate (click here to learn why). Don’t tune out yet though! Even if you don’t qualify for MIPS, you still may benefit from things like increased interoperability with your EHR monitoring the program, especially regarding the Promoting Interoperability performance category (formerly known as Advancing Care Information [ACI] or Meaningful Use [MU]) due to a recent shift in requirements.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) published a Final Rule that moves certification beyond just the ‘Complete EHR’ standard of the past to “more easily accommodate health IT certification for other purposes beyond MU.”  Instead, a modular certification option is now available which is good news for providers/clinicians who are not eligible to participate in what is now known as the Promoting Interoperability performance category.

Prior to the Final Rule, CMS and ONC required EHR vendors to obtain complete certification for many modules that—especially in cases of specialized software—required a large investment in functionality that might not necessarily benefit the users of the software. Modular certification is a welcomed change that gives EHR vendors the ability to focus more on designing technology that will accommodate quality patient care specific to its user’s clinical needs.

Have no fear that a move to modular certification would limit the usefulness of your EHR solution or clinical documentation. Here are four quick examples of benefits that will enhance technological efficacy across systems and, ultimately, better serve patients.

  • A crucial piece of certification improves interoperability when using the Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) file format. The C-CDA allows all certified vendors to speak in a universal language/format across different EHRs, which ensures a patient’s health information can be shared. This allows any provider treating the patient to have a more accurate and thorough understanding of the patient’s history.
  • Bi-directional communication with immunization registries benefits employees or patients with a complete and accurate immunization history within the Employee Health and Occupational Medicine industry.
  • Drug-drug/drug-allergy checks trigger alerts for clinicians to lessen the risk of accidentally prescribing a combination that might be harmful to the patient. This enhances the quality of patient care and especially improves patient safety and lessens the chance of human error.
  • Security controls and rigorous third-party testing ensures the application meets best practices to protect patient data.

As you search for an EHR that is right for you, consider looking for one that has a certification, but specifically pay attention to the modules that might impact your specialty most.

To discover if a vendor is certified, visit the Certified Health IT Product List.

To read the final rule directly, click here.

Using Agility and need professional assistance?  Download a brochure and let experts help you develop a high impact and bottom-line focused Employee Health or Occupational Medicine program!


Sheila Cougras is a Registered Nurse with a background in disease management, leadership, and compliance and has been serving as the Director of Product Compliance at Net Health for over 10 years. She is an expert in monitoring and interpreting regulations that impact Employee Health, Occupational Medicine, and Urgent Care.  Prior to working at Net Health, she was a Regional Director of Clinical Operations and Senior Director of Surgical and Perioperative Services. One of her latest focuses is keeping up with the changes within the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).  

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