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Chapter 6: What Is HITECH?

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AARA). The HITECH expanded the responsibilities of business associates under the security and privacy rules by requiring HIPAA covered entities and their business associates to provide notification following a breach of unsecured protected health information. HITECH also includes new limitations on the sale of protected health information, marketing and fundraising communications. It also provides individuals more rights so they can access electronic medical records and restrict the disclosure of certain information.

HITECH allows proper use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) throughout the U.S. health care delivery system. EHR technology is used as in electronic prescribing and ensure that the health information is used to improve the quality of care. In this way, the physician who is using EHR technology is responsible to provide the HHS information on quality of care.

The CDC defines the concept of meaningful use of health outcomes policy priorities, namely as:

  1. Improve quality, safety, efficiency and reduce health disparities
  2. Engage patients and families in their health
  3. Improve care coordination
  4. Improve population and public health
  5. Ensure adequate privacy and security protection for personal health information
    The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) grants an incentive payment to those who use the EHR technology through the HITECH act.
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