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

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 2787 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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

of 2009

Table of contents

  1. Objective…………………………………………………….. (3)
  2. Introduction………………………………………………….. (3)
  3. Problem with the paper-based medical record………………. (3)
  4. Evidence of Medical Error…………………………………… (4)
  5. Input from the government on HITECH Act………………… (4)
  6. Financial incentives………………………………………….. (5)
  7. Involvement of Agencies in Healthcare Information Technology Adoption……………………………………………………… (5)
  8. Population and Societal Benefits…………………………….. (5)
  9. Ethics and use of EHR data………………………………….. (6)
  10.         Impact of the Policy………………………………………. (6)
  11.         Personal perspective……………………………………….. (7)
  12.         Conclusion………………………………………………… (8)
  13.         References………………………………………………… (8)

 

Objectives

The purpose of this paper is to analyze a different aspect of Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act Policy.

Introduction

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act was implemented in 2009. HITECH Act was a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.(Jamie skipper,2012) Many years ago, The National Academy of Medicine defines the serious consequences of a paper-based health system that include unneeded tests, increased costs, leading to adverse effects, and important data was left hidden in patient’s files which can be used in clinical innovations.(“The HITECH Era and the path Forward,NEJM”,2017)To address these problems HITECH Act was passed by United States Congress in 2009. The goal of the HITECH Act is to invest in health information technologies to improve healthcare delivery system and patient service.(“The HITECH Act and Electronic Health Records”,2018) The HITECH Act provides financial incentives to qualified professionals for the meaningful use of certified qualified electronic health records(EHRs). These EHRs have been certified by an authorized testing and certification body (ATCB). HITECH Act provides incentives for Physicians and Hospitals both. Under incentive payment program qualified professional who shows meaningful use of an EHR will receive payment. After 2015, If physicians fail to show meaningful use of EHR results in a reduction in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement.(Burde,2011)

Problem with the paper-based medical record

Since decades physicians were used to prescribing handwritten scripts. That handwriting was illegible and cannot be transferred into electronic format. Paper-based medical record has much useful information which can be used in research purpose but, it stored on paper in unstructured and non-transferable form. Cost of copy store and transfer that data is also expensive. The passage of HITECH Act which forces physicians to use Electronic Health Record(EHR). Data on Electronic Health Record is much organized than the paper record. (“Benefits of Switching to an Electronic Health Record(EHR),Practice Fusion”,2016)

Evidence of Medical Error

Medical error is one of the leading cause of death in the USA. According to a report of the Institute of Medicine 44,000 to 98,000 people die every year because of preventable adverse events.(“Measuring and Responding to Death From Medical Errors”,2017) Medical error is a preventable adverse effect occurred from negligent in diagnosis or treatment of condition or disease. According to study 5 percent of patient who gets treatment in an outpatient setting have faced delayed or the wrong diagnosis. In post-mortem report 1 out of 10 death occur from diagnostic error. But, after Health IT implementation error related to diagnosis and prescription is reduced. That is a major advantage of EHR technology.(Rajasekar,2015)

Input from the government on HITECH Act

The government of USA decided to move towards electronic health information exchange and to do so, President Barack Obama signed of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was designed to the digitization of patient health record and its meaningful use. HITECH Act provides incentives to physicians for the adoption of certified EHR technology and its meaningful use. Under this incentive program, it provided more than $35 million to clinicians as an incentive to promote and expansion of EHR by healthcare professionals. This incentive program was divided into 3 stages: stage 1- Data Capture and Sharing, stage-2 Advance Clinical Processes, stage-3 Improved Outcome. Those providers who adopt EHR within the 5-year time frame will get incentives for its meaningful use. The government also make provision for penalties for non-compliance.(Reisman M.,2017)

Financial incentives

HITECH act provides financial incentives for adoption and meaningful use of certified electronic health records(EHRs) to eligible healthcare professionals. Authorized testing and certification body certify EHR technology. The eligible health care professional is the physicians or it can be a hospitals. This incentive program is for both Physicians and Hospitals. Under this incentive program eligible healthcare professional who shows the meaningful use of EHR technology will receive an incentive payment. This payment starts in 2011 and those professional demonstrate meaningful use between 2011 or 2012 will eligible for an incentive payment of $18,000. And in second year $12,000, in third year $8,000, and in the fourth year $4,000 and in the following year $2,000. But, if a physician fails to present meaningful use after 2015 then there will be a reduction in reimbursement of Medicaid and Medicare.(Burde,2011)

Involvement of Agencies in Healthcare Information Technology Adoption

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality(AHRQ) granted money to support investment in HIT. This fund focuses on rural and underserved population and it includes many systems like EHR, E-prescription, quality measurement, Privacy, and security. The federal agencies, including the Department of Defence (DOD), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Office of Personnel Management(OPM) also adopted Health information technology standards. The VA and DOD both departments adopted EHR for their health system use. (stephen Redhead,2009)

Population and Societal Benefits

HITECH Act implementation and incentive program Expand the use of Electronic Health Record(EHR) in medical settings. There are many possible advantages of using Electronic Health Record such as care coordination, efficient care, reduce medical errors, provide safer care, reliable prescribing, increase the security of patient data, and better clinical decision making.(“What are the Advantages of electronic health records?”,2018) Most of these advantages don’t directly benefit the population but it plays a major role to improve care, efficiency, effectiveness, and patient safety. EHR system gives functionality to the patient to schedule appointments and prescription renewals. EHR serves as a communication medium between patient and provider. The patient gets a reminder about their appointment and vaccination dues. EHR gives freedom to a patient to access their lab results. EHR also provides some societal benefits. EHR can provide useful patient data for research. This patient data stored electronically in the EHR system can provide to Evidence-based support in practice. Most of the public health researcher uses these data to do research that is ultimately helpful to populations.(“Benefits and drawbacks of electronic health record systems”,2011)

Ethics and use of EHR data

Adoption of EHR system improve patient care and to achieve benefits from this system patient data is important. How accurate is the patient data? EHR data must be valid and useful. Quality of patient data in EHR should be high. So, it can be used for the research purpose as well. But, there is also a downside of these data. There are chances of misuse of these data to harm individual or communities. Data security is crucial to protect data of Electronic Health Records.(“Ethics and subsequent use of electronic health record data”,2017)

Impact of the Policy

The implementation of the HITECH Act in 2009 was the major reform in the healthcare Industry. It moves physicians from traditional paper-based patient record to Electronic Health Record(EHR). This was the major step toward implementation of information technology in healthcare. As a result of EHR adoption, in 2017 96% of non-federal acute care hospitals possessed certified health IT. As of 2016, over 95 percent of the hospital were qualified for incentive program by achieving meaningful use. In 2015, 9 out of 10 of office-based physicians adopted EHR and over 3 in 4 had adopted a certified EHR.(“Health IT Quick Stats”,2018) According to a national survey of doctors, evidence shows that 94 percent of doctors reported that their EHR readily available at the time of care. 75 percent of doctors reported that EHR helps them to deliver better patient care and 88 percentage reported that EHR adoption gives benefits to their practice.(“Improved Diadnostics & Patient Outcomes”,2017)

Personal perspective

In my opinion, the HITECH Act implementation was one of the best reform that increases access to patient health record by the physician and patient both. The patient web portal is useful tool nowadays where a patient can access information about their upcoming appointment, lab results, and information about their condition or disease. HITECH act enables evidence-based treatment which can improve the outcome of disease and conditions. HITECH Act expands EHR adoption just because of that now physicians can provide better treatment to the patient without any error in drug prescription and duplication of a test. EHR can store detailed information about a patient condition or disease and this information can easily be exchanged with other providers on request. EHR reduces paperwork and saves time for physicians. It provides E referral feature to physicians to make an easy referral. EHR helps to improve billing and coding. Yes, every technology comes with some drawbacks and in this technology cost of implementation is too high, privacy and security of patient’s data are also challenging. but, advantages of this technology overweight disadvantages.

 

Conclusion

In this paper, I have discussed the problems that patients and physicians were facing before the HITECH Act, HITECH Act enactment, Incentives for meaningful use of EHR, Agencies who adopted Electronic Health Record, Population and societal benefits, Advantages and drawback of EHR, data related to EHR adoption, and my personal view about this policy. Statistical data shows wide adoption of EHR but, it’s still inconsistent by geographic areas. Some evidence shows electronic information exchange improve efficiency, reduce cost and improve outcome for the patient.

References

  1. (n.d.). ONC | Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Retrieved from http://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/individual-access-06-03-2012.pdf
  2. The HITECH Era and the Path Forward | NEJM. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1703370
  3. The HITECH Act and Electronic Health Records. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://health.usf.edu/is/blog/2018/02/13/the-hitech-act-and-electronic-health-records
  4. Burde, H. (2011, March 01). THE HITECH ACT: An Overview. Retrieved from https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/hitech-act-overview/2011-03
  5. Benefits of Switching to an Electronic Health Record (EHR) | Practice Fusion. (2016, November 22). Retrieved from https://www.practicefusion.com/health-informatics-practical-guide-page-1/
  6. Measuring and Responding to Deaths From Medical Errors. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://psnet.ahrq.gov/perspectives/perspective/221/Measuring-and-Responding-to-Deaths-From-Medical-Errors
  7. Rajasekar, H. (2015, December 20). An Evaluation of Success of Electronic Health Records in Reducing Preventable Medical Error Rates in the United States: A Detailed Report. Retrieved from https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/an-evaluation-of-success-of-electronic-health-records-in-reducingpreventable-medical-error-rates-in-the-united-states-a-detailed-r-2157-7420-1000210.php?aid=65372
  8. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. EHRs: The Challenge of Making Electronic Data Usable and Interoperable. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5565131/
  9. Burde, H. (2011, March 01). THE HITECH ACT: An Overview. Retrieved from https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/hitech-act-overview/2011-03
  10. Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www-heinonline-org.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/HOL/Page?collection=congrec&handle=hein.crs/crsuntaaepo0001&id=12&men_tab=srchresults
  11. What are the advantages of electronic health records? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthit.gov/faq/what-are-advantages-electronic-health-records
  12. (n.d.). ResearchGate | Share and discover research. (PDF) Benefits and drawbacks of electronic health record systems. Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/publication/221812557_Benefits_and_drawbacks_of_electronic_health_record_systems
  13. Ethics and subsequent use of electronic health record data. (2017, May 31). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1532046417301211
  14. Health IT Quick Stats. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dashboard.healthit.gov/quickstats/quickstats.php
  15. Improved Diagnostics & Patient Outcomes. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthit.gov/topic/health-it-basics/improved-diagnostics-patient-outcomes

 

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