HIPAA/HITECH Rules, Putting the Puzzle Together
Over the last few months, the healthcare community has been patiently (or not so patiently) awaiting additional rulemaking regarding HIPAA and HITECH. The wait is over, at least for the moment. Three Final Rules and one Proposed Rule have been published in the Federal Register.
- The Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Rule, (meaningful use);
- Health IT Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology;
- Establishment of the Temporary Certification Program for Health Information Technology; Final Rule
- The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules.
There are a lot of questions and some confusion surrounding the necessity of these four Rules, how they fit together, and what they will require. What do they mean for you? Will these rules move the country forward in the use of health IT, or be too burdensome? One of the goals for electronic health record implementation is to have each person’s medical record available electronically. Healthcare providers will be able to access a patient’s medical record wherever they may be within the U.S., hopefully improving healthcare outcomes. It seems many physicians agree with the concept, but the process of getting there is a huge undertaking and will no doubt be a painful one.
Many questions still remain. In future issues of our blog, we’ll be examining the various aspects of these new Rules and giving pointers on what providers need to do to comply with them. Stay tuned.