Advancing Patient-Centeredness and Equity through Technology

The other major health care policy legislation enacted within the past two years is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of the economic stimulus legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The HITECH Act provides up to $30 billion to hospitals, physicians, community health centers and other “eligible providers”. The federal funds will be available through incentive payments paid through Medicare and Medicaid. Hospitals and physicians must demonstrate “meaningful use of certified electronic health records” to qualify for the incentive payments. The Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is overseeing most of the implementation of the HITECH Act, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is overseeing the Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.

I have compiled some key resources on the implementation of the HITECH Act, with a focus on how it might impact safety net health care providers, and patients and health care consumers, especially from underserved communities.