23 Mar Social Security goes live with first federal e-health information exchange
New system automates transmission of medical records for processing disability claims
The Social Security Administration (SSA) today said it has gone live with a disability claims processing system that was designed to reduce the time millions of Americans spend each year waiting for benefits to be approved — and that could mark the start of the rollout of national health information network.
The SSA uses individual medical records to decide on 2.6 million disability claims every year. As part of that process, the agency relies on doctors, hospitals and other health professionals to provide medical information about patients. By migrating from paper to electronic transmissions based on patient authorizations, SSA officials said that they can significantly reduce the time spent waiting for records to arrive.
New open-source software deployed at the SSA, combined with the use of a Virginia-based health information exchange’s database, is expected to reduce the wait time for documents to minutes, according to Debbie Somers, a senior adviser in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Systems at the SSA. That process can take weeks or even months now, Somers said.
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