How does NIST fit into HITECH Certification and Meaningful Use (MU)?

NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology and was formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) between 1901 and 1988. NIST is a measurement standards laboratory which is a laboratory of metrology, the science of measurement, which establishes standards for a country or organization. NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST’s mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life. Their core competencies include measurement science, rigorous traceability and development and use of standards.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 encourages eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to move toward the use of electronic health records. The ARRA legislation calls for the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT, in consultation with NIST, to establish a program for the testing and certification of health information technology as being in compliance with certification criteria to meet defined meaningful use requirements.

In collaboration with ONC, NIST developed testing requirements, test cases, and test tools in support of the health IT certification program. NIST’s approved test procedures can be viewed here. Questions about the test procedures can be sent to NIST at