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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) is a piece of legislation enacted by the US government to promote and enforce the use of information technology within the health sector.
The HITECH Act provisions health providers with financial incentives for creating health infrastructure and maintaining electronic health records.
The HITECH Act was first conceived in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Under this program health providers across the US will be provided funds and support from 2011 onwards. To qualify for these funds, the provider must exhibit practical use and implementation of information and communications technology within their operations. These funds are also applicable for training and support required by health providers in creating and managing their IT infrastructure.
Besides financial support, the HITECH Act imposes penalties for not implementing health IT infrastructure by 2015 and not maintaining and ensuring the security and confidentiality of electronic health records.