The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and creates incentives related to health care information technology, including incentives for the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems among providers.
The HITECH Act of 2009 anticipated the expansion in the exchange of electronic protected health information (ePHI) between doctors, hospitals, and other entities that store ePHI for the sole reason of cutting down on the cost of healthcare by sharing. The HITECH Act of 2009 expanded the scope of privacy and security protections available under HIPAA by increasing the potential legal liability for non-compliance and it providing for more stringent enforcement. The HITECH Act specifies that by the beginning of 2011, healthcare providers will be given monetary incentives for being able to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR). These monetary incentives will be offered until 2015, after which time penalties will be levied for failing to demonstrate such use. Many of the HITECH Act’s requirements became effective 12 months from the date of enactment.