Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was passed to encourage the adoption and effective use of health information technology. Partly by strengthening the civil and criminal enforcement of the HIPAA requirements, the HITECH Act addresses the privacy and security issues related to the electronic transmission of health information.
The main objectives of the HITECH Act were to encourage healthcare companies to retain patient-protected health information as softcopy rather than hardcopy, and to compel healthcare authorities to adopt electronic health records (EHRs). As a result of this Act, the HIPAA Rules are now applicable to business partners and outside suppliers to the healthcare sector; HIPAA compliance is required of all organizations that deal with protected health information.