What is the difference between HIPAA and HITECH?

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HIPAA and HITECH are the two terms which make the ultimate duo of protection for Health insurance Act.

What is HIPAA?

The health insurance portability and accountability act was a standard which was laid down by the act to protect sensitive patient data. Any company or organisation which deals with patient data should have the physical, network, and process security measures in place. They should strictly comply with the rules and regulations of the act.

The HIPAA privacy rules entails the following features

  1. Requires the health care workers to protect and maintain the confidentiality of the PHI through pci learning program.
  2. It makes it mandatory to share the minimum PHI
  3. It gives all patients the rights to their health information, including rights to obtain a copy of their medical records.

What is HITECH?

The acronym for HITECH is Health information Technology Economic and Clinical Health. It was a part of the American Recovery and investment act of 2009 which was enacted into a law in the same year. Its purpose was to promote the adoption and use health information technology. It addressed the issues of security and security concerns with regards to the electronic transmission of health information. It was an extension to HIPAA. It was designed to enforce the HIPAA guidelines. The penalty for wilful neglect of HIPAA HITECH act leads to a huge penalty up to 250000 dollars. It is clearly defined that no health information can be shared without the patients authorisation. If there is neglect or breach of this notification, it should be immediately reported to the patients. They should be immediate steps taken to resolve the breach.

The patient through HITECH system has full legitimate rights to obtain formation via electronic format.

The major impact of HITECH has been the rate at which HER has been adopted. It has increased from 2% to almost 4%, from 2008 to 2015. The rate of adoption of technology was meagre before the adoption of the HITECH act.

The HITECH act has also expended the security provisions which were included in the HIPAA act.

HIPAA AND HITECH both play significant roles in the health insurance sector in their own ways. They have some fundamental differences between them. These include:

  • HIPAA (Health insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was signed as a law in the year 1996, and the HITECH (Health information technology for Economic and Clinical health) act in 2009, changed the scenario.
  • The HIPAA act was implemented to extend the clout of health care information, whereas the HITECH act was to stimulate the electronic health records.
  • HIPAA had laid down the foundation for the variety of protections to govern the security of the individual’s health information. HITECH was built in relation with HIPAA to stimulate the adoption of electronic health records.
  • Data security is essential for both HIPAA AND HITECH. After the implementation of HITECH pci training for secure processing of data of the customer was implemented.
  • HIPAA was enacted for the encouragement of safety of the health insurance of the employees and their families in case they lose their job or change their jobs. On the other hand HITECH improves the effectiveness of the enforcement of the HIPAA act
  • HIPAA encourages the medical representative and groups to use electronic data as a form of communication and HITECH made this provision a compulsion.

HIPAA and HITECH are unrelated acts which came into existence in different times but still they reinforce each other in significant ways in the world of health IT.

For instance the HITECH states that the technology standards created under it should not compromise the HIPAA security and privacy laws.

Another instance would be that HITECH established the data breach notification rules. The HIPAA updates echoes these notifications set out by the HITECH. These rules and details includes updates like the healthcare which provides businesses associates would be accountable to the same liability for data breach as the providers themselves.

Hence though HITECH act came in 2009 and the HIPAA was adopted in 1996 itself it is very much deeply reinforce each other in various ways for better working and efficient health sector.

Ganesh Kolekar is a graduate and geek. He is the man behind keeping the quality of the posts and manages the content part on the website.