In 2009, the Health Information Technology of Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) act was signed into law. Six years later, we find organizations still struggling to achieve compliance. Why are healthcare organizations still unable to attest to meaningful use, HIPAA compliance, and the many other regulatory compliance standards? We dug in to find out where the current state of the healthcare industry stands on the HITECH act and what we see for the future.
Currently, “three-quarters of U.S. nonfederal acute care hospitals have at least a basic electronic health record (EHR) system,” according to the study Health Information Technology in the United States, 2015: Transition to a Post-HITECH World. That is a sizeable amount of hospitals operating with at least an EHR system, but that certainly does not mean the policies and regulations required by the HITECH act are being met. We speculate that there are many reasons healthcare organizations have not yet adopted the techniques and software needed in order to be compliant. At Keystone IT, a big part of what we do is assist medical practices, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals implement the technology, rules, and regulations needed in order to comply with the HITECH act. We also work to break the barriers that prevent health organizations from becoming compliant.
Consequences for noncompliance due to willful neglect typically result in monetary penalties and becoming a flagged organization. When flagged, your organization will continue to undergo audits until standards are met. Because we see many healthcare practices struggling to achieve what is needed in order to pass an audit, we offer HIPAA workshops that walk attendees through the steps to compliance.
It is incredibly important to work toward a nation of complete HITECH compliance in order to protect patient information and overall enhance patient care.
HITECH in the future
We think RWJF has a valid and likely prediction of what the future of HITECH holds. They say, “The lasting impact of HITECH remains to be seen. As the incentive programs progress to more advanced functionalities in later stages of meaningful use, and as the penalty phases of the programs begin, health professionals will have to continue moving toward health information exchange, patient engagement, and quality measurement. While the impact of HITECH is not yet clear, the pace of adoption of technologies by the public is likely to continue at a rapid pace. Consumer engagement with technology is likely to bring further pressure to bear on health care organizations as patients seek ways to use these devices to track and transmit their own data and interact with health care health professionals.”
How can we help?
Keystone IT has an experienced technical staff that are able to build and scale your IT infrastructure for growth and efficiency. Also, our healthcare consultants are knowledgeable in HIEs (health information exchanges), government incentive programs, and security. This means, through our strategic consulting, we can analyze your current EHR system and help you find the most cost efficient way to achieve compliance. Interested in speaking with a consultant about your organization’s needs and goals? Contact us or call 314-621-9500.