Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can we apply for more than one PHIN Certification at a time?
Yes. The PHIN Certification Review Request Form allows you to request multiple PHIN Certification evaluations.
2. Can any public health partner agency and/or vendor apply for PHIN Certification?
At this time PHIN Certification is only available to the 62 partners who are awardees of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Cooperative Agreement. In addition, the PHIN Certification for LRN-B results messaging is available only to Laboratory Response Network (LRN) laboratories.
3. How will the PHIN Certification Group determine if a partner is compliant with the PHIN Requirements and Certification Criteria for a PHIN Certification?
The PHIN Certification Group will evaluate the partner based on test scenarios developed for each PHIN Certification. When the partner successfully passes all of the evaluation steps, the partner will be awarded the PHIN Certification.
4. How long will the PHIN Certification evaluation take?
The time may vary for each PHIN Certification. Each Certification evaluation will have at least two parts: 1) security and availability evaluation and 2) the functionality demonstration (which may require multiple sessions). The expectation is that a partner will be able to complete the evaluation within one week.
5. How will the PHIN Certification Group notify us of any non-compliance areas identified during the certification evaluation?
(For non-case notification related PHIN certification evaluations)
After a PHIN Certification evaluation, the PHIN Certification Group will provide a PHIN Certification Evaluation Report to you. This report will either indicate that you successfully met all of the criteria or it will provide details for any non-compliance areas or deficiencies identified during the certification evaluation.
Here is a example PHIN Certification Evaluation Report.
(For case notification related PHIN certification evaluations)
Any issues identified by the PHIN Certification Group will be included with the feedback provided to you as part of the PHIN NNDSS Case Notification Certification Process. The feedback will provide details of any non-compliance areas or deficiencies identified that must be corrected before the PHIN Certification will be awarded.
6. Will the certification evaluation documents be available so we can prepare for PHIN Certification?
Yes. The certification evaluation documents for each PHIN Certification are available under the “Documents” link above. Review these documents to understand the steps you will perform during the evaluation sessions.
7. The test data provided by the PHIN Certification Group for “Varicella Case Notification Message – Send” includes optional data not used within our jurisdiction and not supported by our surveillance system. Do we have to modify our surveillance system so we are able to include this data in the test messages we send for the PHIN Certification evaluation?
No. If you do not currently collect data identified as optional within a respective case notification guide, CDC does not expect you to modify existing or build new systems to transmit this optional data for PHIN Certification.
8. The PHIN Certification Criteria and Process document is version 1.0, but it refers to PHIN Requirements Version 2.0. Should we use the PHIN Certification Criteria and Process Version 1.0 document or is there a version 2.0?
PHIN Certification Criteria and Process document is designated as version 1.0 since it is the first release of this specific document. It is based upon the PHIN Requirement Version 2.0. There was no previous document of this name or scope.
9. If we are awarded a PHIN Certification, for example “Varicella Case Notification Message—Send”, and a new version of the Varicella Message Mapping Guide is released, will the certification we were awarded expire with the release of the new mapping guide or expire after the two year expiration period?
When a partner is awarded a certification, it is valid for two years from the date issued (two year expiration period). Certification does not expire when a new version of a guide is released.
10. If a new version of the certification is introduced, will the certifications awarded for the prior version expire with the release of the new certification version or expire after the two year expiration period?
Awarded certifications are valid for two years from the date issued and they do not expire when a new version of the PHIN Certification is introduced. However, the new version of the PHIN Certification will have its own target date, which could be before the expiration of a certification awarded for the prior version.
11. What if the functionality covered by the PHIN Certification is not applicable in our jurisdiction (e.g. Varicella is not reportable in our state)?
Partners are not expected to achieve PHIN Certifications that are not applicable for their jurisdiction. For example, if your jurisdiction does not report Varicella case notification data to the CDC then you would not be expected to achieve PHIN Certification for PHIN Varicella Case Notification Message—Send.
12. Is a partner expected to have received the certification by the certification target date or just to have applied for the certification by the target date?
The expectation is that the partner will have received the certification by the certification target date. Partners are expected to apply for the certification in advance of the target date, allowing sufficient time to complete the evaluation process and, if necessary, correct issues and repeat any failed evaluation steps.
13. When we are asked to sign the PHIN Certification Security and Availability Self-Attestation Form, do we need to consider all of our systems/applications when determining whether we meet the certification criteria for security and availability?
The scope of the PHIN Certification evaluation is limited to include only those systems/applications utilized to perform the functions necessary for the PHIN Certification. Therefore, you only need to consider those specific system/applications when you determine whether you meet the certification criteria for security and availability. The PHIN Certification Security and Availability Assessment Tool is available to help you assess your compliance.