Regulatory Requirements for Healthcare Informatics

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  • 0:04 Healthcare Informatics
  • 1:02 Regulations Overview
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maya Shapland

Maya has worked in the clinical, education, and management sections of healthcare for over 25 years and holds bachelor's degree in Speech and associate degree in Nursing.

Healthcare has been impacted by laws that have been enacted to protect patients and staff. In this lesson, you'll find out more about the regulatory requirements for healthcare informatics.

Healthcare Informatics

Sara, a registered nurse, is a leader in her unit for compliance with regulations. She has trained in healthcare informatics and remains vigilant by providing education for others on the role of security breach prevention. Sara is considering a nursing informatics position where she'll design workflow for clinical staff to begin using electronic patient health records as well.

Since the 1960s, there has been a rapid development of computer software that can provide electronic documentation, information, communication, and decision support for staff and providers of healthcare. The growth of healthcare informatics, a specialty role combining clinical knowledge and information science, has produced a technology base in the clinical setting. Health information technology, or HIT, formed the product called the electronic health record, or EHR. Nursing informatics is a special role for nurses who help design workflow for the EHR, taking the care of patients into technology.

Regulations Overview

Regulatory bodies in government have been tasked with addressing the healthcare informatics world in an effort to improve quality, safety, and security of patient care and records. Sara knows these regulations can help guide nursing practice for her patients and the providers. She is designing workflow for clinical staff with the following laws in the forefront.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Legislation was passed in 1996 to allow insurance coverage to continue in case of job loss or changes. Parts of this law are specific to healthcare technology as patients can now have access to their electronic health records. Confidentiality is a large part of this law as it addresses the security and handling of the patient's record. Sara's goal is to educate her staff and providers regarding HIPAA.

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH)

In 2009, this law was passed to create a national healthcare infrastructure. This law includes:

  • Greater HIPPA enforcement with strict compliance and large penalties for breaches in confidentiality
  • Health information technology expansion
  • Interoperability, which is the exchange of patient data through secure networks connecting many providers and healthcare organizations
  • Standards for certification of the electric health record programs in each facility
  • Incentives to those that implement healthcare technology with accountability
  • Notification of health record breaches

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

This legislation provides affordable insurance coverage for those who are uninsured and has brought rapid changes for healthcare at all levels. Regulations linked with this legislation are numerous. Healthcare technology is also a large part of this bill and informatics is responding to meet the demands from providers, staff, and the ACA. Accurate data collection, measuring the work being done for the patient, and tracking the outcomes of the care given are high on the list.

The ability for providers to have access to electronic health records, communicate with other providers, and exchange information directly related to the patient are also in process now through healthcare interoperability.

Meaningful use is another goal of technology being driven by ACA. Healthcare systems may be eligible for initiatives from Medicare and Medicaid if they implement, upgrade, and use certified electronic health record software. But, the following goals must be met:

  • Improve quality and safety using technology
  • Support patient care and access to health record
  • Improve coordination of patient care between staff and providers
  • Foster patient and family engagement in the care
  • Expand healthcare technology for improved data collection, adding to accountability

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