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WHAT IS THE HITECH ACT?

The world of healthcare is always changing to adapt with the times. As technology entered the medical world, it became important for the healthcare industry to embrace it and use it to better patient care. In 2009, the world did just that with the passing of the HITECH Act. Read on to find out more about the act and how the world of healthcare and patient care have a more promising future because of it.

IT PROTECTS ONLINE DOCUMENTATION

With the passage of the HITECH Act in 2009, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology finally had the authority to create standards for the stimulus program and manage them. Grants were also created for training centers so new personnel could understand and support the new IT infrastructures used by healthcare organizations. One important key feature of the HITECH Act was that it expanded notifications for data breaches and further protected electronic health data.

IT FURTHERS HEALTHCARE TECHNOLOGY

Before the HITECH Act was passed, only 3.2% of hospitals in the US had the ability to adopt electronic health records and make them part of their system. The act then gave hospitals financial incentives to get this technology up and running on site until 2014. At the beginning of 2014, 14.2% of hospitals had electronic health records, and the financial incentives were switched to financial penalties for any hospital that was found without these health records.

IT KEEPS PATIENTS’ INFORMATION SAFE

While HIPAA laws were created before the HITECH Act and they remain unrelated, the new act did begin to reinforce HIPAA standards. As part of the act, HIPAA could not be broken for any electronic health records. It also requires that all physicians must pass a HIPAA exam and that healthcare providers are held responsible for any future data breaches.

After the passage of the HITECH Act, patient information was made more secure through electronic health records and penalties that were enforced if data was breached or confidentiality broken. It’s key to reinforcing HIPAA and maintaining the integrity of patient information, now and in the future.


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