HITECH Act and Meaningful Use

Table of Content
  1. What is HITECH Act?
  2. When was it implemented?
  3. What does the term “meaningful use” mean in relation to HITECH Act?
  4. What are some concerns about the HITECH Act and how it’s been implemented?
  5. How does HITECH and similar legislature affect patients?
  6. How does it affect those employed in the healthcare field?

The law known as HITECH, or Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, was enacted on February 17, 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Its primary goal is to enhance and expand the privacy and security rules outlined in HIPPA. Not only does this law bolster privacy regulations, but it also grants federal and state entities the authority to enforce measures related to safeguarding patient data.

The government has emphasized the shift to electronic health records (EHR) and implemented stricter privacy regulations to safeguard patient confidentiality. HITECH strengthens patient privacy by expanding on the HIPPA Privacy Rule and Security Rule with multiple measures.

  • Increases HIPPA’s patient rights regarding control over their PHI
  • Limits use of PHI for marketing purposes
  • Mandates breach notification
  • Protects PHI from unauthorized use and disclosure by explicitly requiring business associates to implement comprehensive information security programs
  • The HITECH Act requires provider organizations to agree to individual requests to not disclose PHI to a health plan if 1-the disclosure to a health plan is for a payment or healthcare operations and not a treatment
  • 2-the PHI pertains solely to a healthcare item or service for which the provider has been paid for out of pocket.

Meaningful use encompasses a set of 15 criteria that medical providers must meet to demonstrate the effective use of their EMR in their practice. Additionally, there are 10 optional criteria, of which only five need to be demonstrated. In total, providers must complete 20 meaningful use criteria to qualify for stimulus payments during Stage One of the EHR incentive program.

There are three stages, and they are as follows:

  • Stage One- use major functionality of EMR. Document set percentage of visits, diagnoses, immunizations, prescriptions and other relevant health information electronically.
  • Stage Two- in addition to stage one, use EMR to send and receive information such as lab orders/results.
  • Stage Three- have not been defined in detail as of yet.

Cite this page

HITECH Act and Meaningful Use. (2016, Nov 10). Retrieved from


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