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Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)

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HITECH is a U.S. law that requires data breach notice of unauthorized use or disclosure of unencrypted personal health information.

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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)[1] is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). HITECH broadens the scope of privacy and security protections already available under HIPAA. This law also increases the potential legal liability for non-compliance and provides for more enforcement. HITECH requires data breach notification for unauthorized uses and disclosures of "unsecured PHI" (unencrypted personal health information). These breach notification requirements are similar to most state data breach laws related to personally identifiable information. For those health providers with an electronic health record (EHR) system in place, patients have a right to access their electronic personal health information (ePHI). The patient can also have their records be sent to a third-party for a fee that is equal to the labor cost to produce. Additioanlly, HITECH has changed it so that business associates (e.g. accounting firms, billing agencies, law firms) of those organizations subject to HIPAA (e.g. health care providers, pharmacies) are now subject to the same data privacy and security requirements, including the civil and criminal penalities, as those HIPAA-regulated organizations they work with.


  1. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.111hr1

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