What is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)?
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. The HITECH Act addresses the privacy and security concerns associated with the electronic transmission of health information, in part, through several provisions that strengthen the civil and criminal enforcement of the HIPAA rules.
The HITECH Act’s primary goal was to urge healthcare authorities to implement electronic health records (EHRs) and incentivize healthcare organizations to maintain patient-protected health information in electronic format instead of paper files. This Act led to the extension of the HIPAA Rules to business associates and third-party healthcare industry suppliers; any organization interacting with protected health information must comply with HIPAA.