by Lynn Shapiro
, Writer | March 30, 2009
IBM and MedVirginia, a clinical data and information exchange, have developed an electronic records system for the Social Security Administration (SSA) that promises to speed up the process of evaluating disability claims when it "goes live" on July 1.
Using the companies' new software, the SSA will be able to shave the amount of time needed to process requests for medical records from months to just minutes, IBM and MedVirginia say.
The project is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and uses IBM's Health Information Provider system not only to reduce processing times, but also to improve claim accuracy and reduce costs, IBM says.
The SSA uses individual medical records to determine almost 3 million disability claims each year, relying on a multitude of sources.
"Improving patient care and reducing overall healthcare costs through smart technology systems is a key priority of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," IBM notes. "Allocated economic recovery funding includes $19 billion for grants and incentives that use health IT in order to save lives by reducing waste and decreasing medical errors."
Michael Matthews, Chief Executive of MedVirginia says that "now is the time to expand the usage and functionality of electronic health records." He adds that the new system demonstrates that disparate health systems across the U.S. can securely connect and exchange health information to boost the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of patient healthcare.
"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 health care community," says Tom Romeo, IBM Vice President and Government Healthcare Services leader. He adds that "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."