New electronic records exchange to speed disability claims

By Molly Merrill
08:47 AM

IBM, the U.S. Social Security Administration and MedVirginia, Virginia's regional health information organization, have launched an electronic records exchange system to help speed the process of granting disability benefits.

The project, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Cooperative, represents the first health information exchange between a regional health information organization and a federal agency.

IBM is providing the technology and business process experience to connect MedVirginia and SSA, using the NHIN framework. IBM's Health Information Provider (HSP) solution is designed to reduce processing times, improve claims accuracy and reduce costs.

"Now is the time to expand the usage and functionality of electronic health records," said Michael Matthews, chief executive officer of MedVirginia. "This significant milestone demonstrates that disparate health systems across the U.S. can securely connect and exchange health information in order to enhance the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of patient healthcare."

The SSA uses individual medical records to determine almost 3 million disability claims each year. SSA officials say the new software and services will significantly reduce the time spent waiting for medical records and improve operations.

"The hard work done by organizations like SSA and MedVirginia over the past several years, coupled with new economic recovery funding, provides an unprecedented opportunity to build on this exciting progress in the healthcare community," said Tom Romeo, IBM's vice president and government healthcare services leader. "IBM's experience with health information exchanges and significant investments in the health IT space give us a distinct position to help our clients as this new digital healthcare infrastructure is expanded around the world."