Author: Ruth V. Arya, BS
Primary Advisor: Juliana Brixey, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN
Masters thesis, The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.
The Health Information Technology for Electronic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed in 2009, promotes better healthcare for Americans through the use of health information technology (HIT), specifically the nationwide adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) (Blumenthal, 2010). Congress incentivized EHR implementation by providing additional Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospital systems that satisfy meaningful use criteria toward improving patient care practices (Blumenthal, 2010; Blumenthal & Tavenner, 2010). Primary care eligible professionals (EPs) receiving Medicare reimbursement can collect up to $44,000 for the selection and implementation of an EHR and meeting meaningful use (Blumenthal, 2010; Blumenthal & Tavenner, 2010). Medicaid participants can receive up to $67,000 (Blumenthal, 2010; Blumenthal & Tavenner, 2010). Medicare funding is reduced as a penalty to doctors and systems that do not implement EHRs. As part of meaningful use, EHRs must meet certain standards for providing patient care and utilize technology such as e-prescribing and computerized decision support (CDS) (Blumenthal, 2010; Blumenthal & Tavenner, 2010). The end goals of HITECH are: “improved individual and population health outcomes; increased transparency and efficiency; [and] improved ability to study and improve care delivery” (Blumenthal, 2010).