From 1996 to 2009, U.S. healthcare organizations operated under a strict regulatory act known as HIPAA. HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, intended to protect patient health data, make health insurance affordable, and to simplify hospital administrative procedures.
As the years progressed, loopholes arose, electronic systems (which were supposed to be incorporated) were ignored, and the U.S. healthcare infrastructure was in jeopardy of falling behind. Not to say that HIPAA was a failure, but after 13 years in operation, it was in desperate need of an update. In 2009, Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) to give HIPAA the update it needed. HITECH closed loopholes and encouraged the adoption of electronic health records by enforcing stricter guidelines and increasingly high noncompliance fees.
Now, to avoid facing penalties, healthcare providers and subsidiary companies must be HITECH compliant. But what does that entail? Read ahead to find out.