HITECH Act: Let’s Stay Focused on THE Low-Tech Solution

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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) is designed to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records and other health information technology. Physician practices, hospitals, and other health care providers are targeted to receive nearly $25 billion for the establishment of a national exchange of electronic health information. It looks like the first $5 billion will go to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT), within the Department of Health and Human Services, to set government standards and get things started. An additional $20 billion has been set aside as incentives to healthcare providers.

As incentives, the HITECH act states, in part, “…physicians will be eligible for $40,000 to $65,000 for showing that they are meaningfully using health information technology, such as through the reporting of quality measures.”

Below are the major areas as excerpted from the HITECH act:

  “This bill accomplishes four major goals that advance the use of health information technology (Health IT), such as electronic health records by:

 •Requiring the government to take a leadership role to develop standards by 2010 that allow for the nationwide electronic exchange and use of health information to improve quality and coordination of care.

 •Investing $20 billion in health information technology infrastructure and Medicare and Medicaid incentives to encourage doctors and hospitals to use HIT to electronically exchange patients’ health information.

 •Saving the government $10 billion, and generating additional savings throughout the health sector, through improvements in quality of care and care coordination, and reductions in medical errors and duplicative care.

 •Strengthening Federal privacy and security law to protect identifiable health information from misuse as the health care sector increases use of Health IT.”

Can anyone know exactly how the HITECH incentive money will be distributed?  I’m not sure, but what does seem clear to me is; healthcare organizations with existing Healthcare IT will benefit first.

What’s likely to happen?  Click here to read the rest of the article by Jerry Stone; http://www.medicalgps.com/021609-2.html

— Jerry Stone

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