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HITECH Act Compliance is a Team Sport:  Is your team HITECH ready?

 March  2010 Issue No. 8
In This Issue
Engaging Patients & Families Over the Internet: Meaningful Use under HITECH
The HITECH Act One Year Out: Real Healthcare Reform?
Featured Article
 This month's featured article is entitled: "The HITECH Act One Year Out: Real Healthcare Reform?" It explores where we have been under HITECH and where we are likely headed. It attempts to provide a big picture view of more than just the regulatory impact, but rather discusses the convergence of law, policy and technology as the real foundation for change. All three combined will produce unprecedented change in the healthcare industry.

Why? Because these three meta-concepts are inextricably linked. Trying to understand any one of them without considering the other two is an exercise in futility.

These three concepts in aggregate will produce more change than the healthcare reform that is going nowhere fast in Congress (i.e. even if we assume something called "reform" happens to pass).

In short, the HITECH Act of 2009, whether intended or unintended, has served as a catalyst for other forces of change that were already gathering momentum in the marketplace, and pushed these forces past the tipping point.

In particular, the HITECH Act has awakened the sleeping giants in the technology industry, who now view healthcare as the industry that will fuel the next growth cycle. These giants will seek to not only capitalize on change, but also to drive it.

This article's thesis defines disruptive change in the healthcare industry as a
"fait accompli," the real question that remains is how stakeholders will respond to it.Early indications show that the healthcare industry will respond with some resistance.

That said, the question that begs asking is "resist against what and whom?" The print industry licked their wounds for years only to watch as an entire industry was decimated by change. What happened? The Internet happened. It changed consumer behavior, there simply was no going back. The same is true for the healthcare industry.

Change or die. As melodramatic as that sounds that is the reality on the ground. Of course, healthcare won't disappear, but visionary stakeholders will adopt faster than their competitors. They will change the rules of the game, stealing marketshare from the laggards and the Luddites.

The winners are likely to be those that embrace compliance as a necessary component of their competitive advantage.
 HITECH / HIPAA Newsletter
Engaging Patients & Families Over the Internet: Meaningful Use under HITECH
About the Guest Author: Eran Kabakov, PT, is the CEO of Info-Surge.com, a company offering innovative online patient education solutions.


One day in early 2001, while working as a physical therapist in an outpatient clinic, I asked a colleague why we were spending so much of our time writing in patients' charts and using faded crooked photocopies to educate them. Shouldn't the clinic have us use computers or the internet to better accomplish these tasks? He responded by turning pale, giving a quick shrug, and dashing to his next patient.

Today, in conversations with clinicians in all walks of healthcare life, I get the same reaction to that question. It seems even today the HITECH Act of 2009 is still causing the "deer in the headlights" reaction in the healthcare market. The purpose of this article is to clarify and suggest functional steps regarding a single piece of the HITECH Act: engaging patients and families in health care

Many articles have been written about the HITECH Act and electronic medical records. Meaningful use as a term and theory has been dissected in a hundred different ways, my favorite being this.

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Dear Carlos,

Welcome to the March 2010 HITECH / HIPAA Compliance Newsletter. The featured article this month is entitled: "The HITECH Act One Year Out: Real Healthcare Reform?" This article takes a look at the impact of HITECH one year after its enactment.

This month we also have a guest article by Eran Kabakov, the CEO of Info-Surge, Inc. which discusses the opportunities that enabling technologies present providers with respect to one of the five meaningful use policy priorities: "Engaging Patients and Families.

If you believe that you are in compliance with HIPAA based on your understanding of the old HIPAA universe then you need to think again.

HITECH / HIPAA Newsletter

The recent historic law suit by Connecticut's State Attorney General should serve as a "wake up call" to healthcare industry stakeholders that "there is a new sheriff in town." Now that we have your attention it may be useful to peruse some of the archived copies of the newsletter to better understand why we have been stating all along that the HITECH Act is a game changer.

This is simply not your daddy's healthcare industry any longer
. Many providers will resist the changes and choose to hang on to days gone by until they retire, and who can blame them? However, the majority simply will not have that option available to them, and must somehow cope, and thrive, under a new set of rules.

Our focus from the outset has been to provide actionable information to our readers. In short, "news you can use." We call them like we see them in order to provide insights unavailable elsewhere. We hope you find a semblance of order in the ensuing tsunami of change.

The first real wave of significant change has yet to hit the beach
, although there have been plenty of warning signs that this wave is approaching shore. This month's featured article further explores this territory.

HSG Announcements
HITECH Survival Guide

We are now actively promoting what we believe to be is the best of breed HIPAA compliance tracking system ("CTS") on the market. We performed a significant amount of due diligence over the last couple of years and this is the one solution that is clearly ahead of the pack and economically priced to be within the reach of even the smallest covered entities and business associates. To see a demo of the product click here.

We are also pleased to announce the availability of our Breach Notification Framework. Section 13402 of the HITECH Act requires that HIPAA covered entities and their business associates provide various notifications following a breach of unsecured protected health information. Our Breach Notification Framework offers guidance for complying with HITECH's Breach Notification requirements.

Our EHR Library remains one of our most popular downloads. Here you will find content that will help you select the right EHR package for your practice or facility.
Contract DraftingWe continue to be excited regarding the marketplace feedback of our Business Associate Agreement: a HITECH Ready Model Contract (Buy Now). 

The HIPAA regulations and the HITECH Act mandate that a CE establish a written contract with a BA in a number of instances, including whenever a BA "manages" PHI on behalf of a CE. Our Model Contract includes provisions that meet the requirements of HIPAA/HITECH and is fully annotated with links, where appropriate, to the relevant statutory/regulatory authority that underpins each Contract clause. 

Our Model Business Associate Contract, Roadmaps, and other offeringsare now available in the HSG Store.

Finally, HSG is now welcoming advertisers to help support one of the most comprehensive and usable HITECH / HIPAA sites on the Internet. Our audience continues to grow as healthcare providers, both large and small, return to HSG again and again. HSG provides HITECH / HIPAA commentary and the ability to read the full text of the statute and regulations online. For more information regarding advertising with us click here or send an email to info@digitalbusinesslawgroup.com with the subject line of "HSG Advertising Inquiry."

HITECH Survival Guide Wordle 
The HITECH Act One Year Out: Real Healthcare Reform?
File FolderThis article takes the opportunity of the passing of HITECH's one year anniversary to write some year-end reflections and some next year prognostications. OK, so most people do this sort of thing in January, but for the purposes of this newsletter the relevant times are measured as "BH" (Before HITECH) and "AH" (After HITECH).

What a difference a year makes, while most in the healthcare industry still have not "awakened" to the compliance ramifications contained within HITECH, many others have. Given the feedback we receive via email and at speaking engagements, the awakening falls into the "rude" category, despite the fact that our educational message has been well received and our audience has not engaged in "shoot the messenger" conduct (i.e. for the most part).

Although we believe (by and large) that legislation analogous to HITECH is long overdue, and we are willing to discuss the reasons for our support in general, the purpose of our newsletter is to inform readers about the state of the law as it exists today (i.e. we are not policy wonks and therefore our approach is pragmatic and not political). In fact, the HIPAA Survival Guide (and now the HITECH Survival Guide) was written (and developed) precisely because we felt that small providers would be disproportionately burdened by the new law and regulations.

EHR Implementation

This article is actually broken down into five short articles, which taken as a whole, will give you some insight as to the current state of HITECH, and where HITECH is headed (as well as the enabling technologies that underpin it).

Here is the table of contents for those who prefer to read this article a piece at a time:


  1. Next Month's Newsletter?

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