The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) Act, was designed to hasten the implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems by providers. As a result, many medical practices have either already gone digital, or are in the process of doing so. However health care providers need to also take the necessary steps to ensure that their practice is protected.
What HITECH means for your practice
Health providers are required to be complaint with the digital requirements of the HITECH Act by January 1, 2015. That’s the date by which they are expected to either adopt an electronic health record system, or demonstrate ‘meaningful use’ of the system. Practitioners that are unable to demonstrate meaningful use will be penalized, as they will be subject to a reduction in their Medicare disbursements.
As they implement EHR systems, medical practices must seek to avoid legal liability, by protecting the security and privacy of electronic health records. The privacy requirements outlined in the HIPAA were extended under the provisions of HITECH.
In this regard, practices should encrypt electronic records, to ensure that they cannot be used if they are ever lost or stolen. This is important to prevent the unauthorized viewing and transmission of medical records. However HITECH does require that patients be advised of this type of security breach.
Medical practices are advised to employ the services of an experienced firm of health care attorneys, to help them develop a compliance program for EHR (click here). This will ensure that they meet the standards of ‘meaningful use’ of EHR, as defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
If you are going digital, Nelson Hardiman, LLP, Los Angeles, CA can help ensure your practice is protected. Call us today at 310-203-2800.