Description -

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It became a law on February 17, 2009, signed by president Barrack Obama. Its aim is to promote the adoption and correct use of information technology in the healthcare industry. The HITECH act specifies that in January of 2011, healthcare providers can take advantage of financial incentives for the meaningful use of electronic health records. These incentives are available until 2015 and then penalties will be applied to those who have failed to provide meaningful use. This act also includes grants to for training centers for the personnel required to support the information systems.

The act attempts to accomplish four overall goals to promote the use of health information technology by:
- “requiring the government to develop standards which allows electronic exchange and use of health information to improve patient care.
- investing $30 billion towards Medicare and Medicaid incentives, health information technology infrastructure to encourage professionals and hospitals to electronically exchange health information.
- Saving the government and health sector money while improving care quality and coordination and reducing errors and duplicative care.
- Improving Federal privacy and security laws to protect identifiable health information from misuse.”(ALN Medical)

There are three stages of meaningful use to help determine the meaningful use of electronic health records. Each stage has its own goals, priorities, and final rule to determine if providers are using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and quantity.

- Stage 1 includes the sets of basic functionalities of EHRs. This stage is concerned with providers who are capturing patient data and sharing the data with the patient or other healthcare providers. Eligible hospitals, professionals, and critical access hospitals must successfully complete at least two stage 1 reporting periods before being able to continue to stage 2.
- Stage 2 includes uses of advanced clinical processes. This stage is concerned with the health information exchange between providers and stimulates patient engagement by providing patients with secure online access to their medical information.
- Stage 3 is scheduled to start in 2016 however the rule hasn't been finished yet. Committees are discussing and developing recommendations to help expand the meaningful use objectives to improve healthcare outcomes.

Web resources -


Understanding the HITECH Act - Q&A's - ALN Medical Management. (2010, December 20). Retrieved October 29, 2014.

Meaningful Use. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

HITECH Act Enforcement Interim Final Rule. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

Rouse, M. (n.d.). HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act). Retrieved October 29, 2014, from


Below is a video demonstrating the "meaningful use" clause and how it ties in with electronic health records:

Below is a video that provides a general summary of the HITECH Act: