The use of health information technology (HIT) has increased dramatically over the past decade, resulting in the federal government enacting several pieces of legislation such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. Continuing to build on your proposal for a healthcare facility from Weeks 1 and 2, you are assigned to research and discuss the following: You must use at least 4 scholarly references.

Introduction

The use of health information technology (HIT) has become increasingly prevalent in healthcare settings. The implementation of HIT has been driven by various factors, including the need for improved efficiency, enhanced quality of care, and increased patient safety. In response to these demands, the federal government has enacted legislation to promote the adoption and meaningful use of HIT in healthcare facilities. This paper aims to research and discuss the impact of these legislative measures on the proposed healthcare facility.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is a landmark piece of legislation that has had a significant impact on the use of HIT in healthcare settings. HIPAA was enacted to address concerns regarding the privacy and security of patients’ health information. It establishes national standards for the protection of individuals’ privacy rights and the security of electronic protected health information (ePHI).

The HIPAA Privacy Rule sets forth guidelines regarding the permitted use and disclosure of patients’ health information. It requires healthcare providers to obtain patients’ written consent before using or disclosing their information for purposes other than treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. This consent requirement has implications for the use of HIT in healthcare facilities, as it governs how patient information can be shared and accessed electronically.

Furthermore, the HIPAA Security Rule establishes standards for the secure storage, transmission, and access of ePHI. Healthcare facilities are required to implement safeguards to protect ePHI from unauthorized access, alteration, or destruction. This includes implementing technical safeguards, such as encryption and access controls, to secure electronic health records (EHRs) and other HIT systems.

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009

Building upon HIPAA, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 was enacted to promote the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and other HIT systems. HITECH provides financial incentives to healthcare providers who demonstrate the meaningful use of certified EHR technology. These incentives aim to encourage healthcare facilities to adopt EHRs and leverage HIT to improve patient care and outcomes.

The meaningful use criteria outlined by HITECH include requirements related to the capture, use, and exchange of electronic health information. Healthcare facilities must demonstrate the ability to securely exchange ePHI with other providers and engage patients in their care through the use of secure electronic messaging. This promotes interoperability and the exchange of health information across different healthcare settings, ultimately leading to improved care coordination and patient outcomes.

Issues and Considerations for the Proposed Healthcare Facility

When considering the impact of HIPAA and HITECH on the proposed healthcare facility, several factors need to be taken into account. First and foremost, the facility must ensure compliance with the privacy and security requirements set forth by HIPAA. This includes implementing appropriate administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the privacy and security of patients’ health information.

Additionally, the facility must consider the implementation of certified EHR technology to meet the meaningful use criteria outlined by HITECH. This involves selecting an EHR system that meets the HITECH requirements and ensures interoperability with other healthcare providers. The facility must also develop policies and procedures to support the secure exchange of health information and engage patients in their care through electronic messaging.

Conclusion

The use of health information technology (HIT) in healthcare facilities has been greatly influenced by legislation such as HIPAA and HITECH. These legislative measures have set standards for the privacy and security of patients’ health information and incentivized the adoption of EHRs and other HIT systems. In light of these requirements, the proposed healthcare facility must ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations, implement certified EHR technology, and prioritize interoperability and patient engagement through HIT. By doing so, the facility can promote the efficient and effective delivery of healthcare services while protecting the privacy and security of patients’ health information.