HITECH and electronic health records
In 2009, President Barack Obama passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (or HITECH) to promote and expand the adoption of health information technology. HITECH specifies certain criteria that must be satisfied to qualify as a “meaningful use” of electronic health record technology (or EHR).
EHR incentives and expenses
The government promotes “meaningful use” by giving EHR incentives to healthcare providers, which may be held in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV). These incentives are provided as a part of Medicare or Medicaid programs. At the same time, hospitals also incur expenditures while installing certified EHR technology.
The above graph shows HCA’s EHR incentives and expenses from 2011 to 2014 on year-to-date basis. Based on the increase in incentives, we can deduce that HCA Holdings has been effectively implementing certified EHR technology across its hospitals.
HCA Holdings receives information technology services from HCA Information Technology & Services, Inc. (or HCA IT&S), which is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary. Peers such as Community Health Systems (CYH), LifePoint Hospitals (LPNT), and Universal Health Services (UHS) also implemented certified EHR technology to satisfy the “meaningful use” requirements.
In September 2014, HCA Holdings declared the acquisition of PatientKeeper, a software and mobile application provider that enables physicians to work with patient information. This deal is expected to improve the computerized physician order entry system and documentation facilities of HCA.
In February 2014, Mobile Heartbeat announced an agreement with HCA Holdings, to pilot Mobile Heartbeat CURE technology for the company’s iMobile Project. Mobile Heartbeat is a leading provider of smartphone applications for improving clinical workflow and team communications. This pilot will be implemented by HCA’s TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.