The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) was enacted under Title XIII of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
What is HITECH?
This economic stimulus package was designed to bolster economic recovery through multiple initiatives, from infrastructure to job creation. One of its objectives was to promote advancements in science and health.
The HITECH Act has five goals:
- Improve healthcare quality, safety, and efficiency
- Engage patients in their car
- Increase coordination of care
- Improve the health status of the population
- Ensure privacy and security
To achieve these goals, organizations were encouraged to embrace health information technology, including transitioning from paper files to electronic health records (EHRs). HITECH included incentives to help covered entities implement EHRs. It also reinforced HIPAA Rules, particularly the Privacy and Security Rules, to ensure covered entities and business associates were implementing the proper safeguards to keep protected health information (PHI) confidential.