The need to have a universal database of health records in electronic form motivated the enactment of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) in a bid to ensure that the adoption of Electronic Health Records is achievable. The achievability of the HITECH act however has been put to question due to a number of reasons. The ambitious act utilizes a \unique incentive based approach that is discriminatory in nature and pegs its success on a system of reward and punishment based on the level of compliance or lack of it. The 2009 act has been cited by Cutler (60) as a system that lit a fire in the health care system because of the numerous bonuses for compliance and future penalties for non compliance. Despite these efforts, the HITECH Act cannot manage to attain its potential.
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One of the main reasons why the act shall not realize its potential has been identified by Cutler (62) as its discriminatory approach to funding. According to Abraham et al (6), the federal government has allocated funding in its 2010 - 2011 funding. However, this funding is what Cutler (62) identifies as discriminatory. Hospitals in Puerto Rico and surrounding territories were left out concentrating the act in only 50 states and Washington DC. These discriminatory approaches may provide for legal challenges that may influence the collapse of the achievement of the Act's intentions. The fact that doctors in this regions are not under the incentive schemes may discourage universal acceptability of the intentions of the act form various bodies especially those that are focused towards ensuring universal access to health care in the united states of America. These discriminatory funding yet those left out is expected to comply with the law may jeopardize the success of this act.
According to Susan and Figlioli, (665), the HITECH Act does not bring anything new in the health care system. What the act does is only to try and accelerate the achievement of the efforts that various stakeholders were already doing or trying to achieve. Since these measures have continuously failed to increase the success of Electronic Health Records, the enactment of the act may have little success towards the achievement of its intents. The act is also cited to be over ambitious by Joseph (8). According to Athen a health, Inc. (8), the issue of Electronic health records has always been seen as case with security connotations especially due to the vulnerabilities that are yet to be addressed in the universal electronic databases. Many persons therefore are still unsure of their privacy especially when using the electronic databases. This therefore may discourage volunteering of information by targeted individuals, something that may greatly affect the success of the HITECH Act's success.
However, several issues that may jeopardize the achievement of the intents of the HITECH Act can be solved by adoption of health care standards (HL7 standards). The V3 Clinical Documenting Architecture which is ISO 10781 can be used in eradicating the problem of privacy and thus help in elimination of stand alone systems in the health care systems. This XML based program provides the platform for unique coding and successful encoding that ensure that the privacy of individuals that has slowed down the pace for the adoption of the EHRs is maintained and thus promote the adoptability of this act.
In conclusion, it should be noted that although the intent of the HITECH Act are laudable, there are many fundamental issues that it leaves unclear which later slows down its adoptability. Such issues this may act to its detriment making it fail to achieve its potential. For the act to realize its potential therefore, it should ensure that the issues that are left in contention are tackled and resolved amicably.
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