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IBM, MedVirginia and Social Security Administration Unveil First Electronic Health Records Exchange for a U.S. Government Agency


WASHINGTON, DC and ARMONK, NEW YORK - 20 Mar 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM), MedVirginia and the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) today announced a first-of-a-kind electronic records exchange system to help speed the process of granting disability benefits for millions of Americans. Through the use of new software and services, the SSA shaved the amount of time to process requests for medical records needed to evaluate disability benefits from months to minutes.

The project, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Cooperative, began just 14 months ago and represents the first health information exchange between a regional health information organization and a U.S. federal agency. The new system uses IBM’s Health Information Provider (HSP) solution to not only reduce processing times, but to also 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.” 

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. Allocated economic recovery funding includes $19 billion for grants and incentives that utilize health IT in order to save lives by reducing waste and decreasing medical errors. 

Verifying Disability Claims – From Months to Minutes
The SSA uses individual medical records to determine almost 3 million disability claims each year. To make those decisions, the agency relies on doctors, hospitals, and other health professionals to provide medical information about patients. Through the migration from paper to electronic transmissions based on the patient’s authorization, the agency is able to significantly reduce the time spent waiting for medical records and improve the service for those it serves. 

“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. “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.” 

The goal of the NHIN is to enable secure access to healthcare data and real time information sharing and exchange of healthcare data among physicians, patients, hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies, and other stakeholders, regardless of the location or application.

As one of the primary IT partners to develop the NHIN architectural foundation, IBM is providing the technology capabilities and business process experience to enable a set of services to securely connect MedVirginia and SSA together using the NHIN framework.

About SSA
The Social Security Administration promotes the Nation’s economic security by administering America’s major income support programs for the elderly, disabled, and their dependents through the retirement, disability, and survivors insurance programs, as well as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. It is the largest independent federal agency, and will pay $615 billion in Social Security benefits to over 51 million beneficiaries, and provide more than $43 billion in assistance to over seven million SSI recipients with limited income and assets.

For more information visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

About MedVirginia
MedVirginia LLC, established in 2000, is a provider-owned organization based in Richmond, VA. Its organizational purpose is to improve quality, safety and efficiency through the use of health information technology. At its core is MedVirginia Solution®, a community-based health information exchange (HIE) linking clinical data from physicians, hospitals, labs and pharmacies. In January 2006, MedVirginia’s HIE became operational, making it among the first “live” HIEs in the U.S. On February 28, 2007, Governor Timothy M. Kaine announced that MedVirginia would receive funding from the Virginia Health Information Technology (HIT) Council for expansion of capabilities. In October, 2007, MedVirginia was awarded a contract with the U.S. Dept. of HHS to participate in the Nationwide Health Information Network Trial Implementation. In 2008, MedVirginia’s CEO, Michael Matthews was named the state’s Convener for the CMS EHR Demonstration as well as Senior Advisor to the Governor’s Office of Health IT.  
For more information visit www.MedVirginia.net.

About IBM
For more information, visit www.ibm.com/services.

Contact(s) information

Lia Davis
IBM Media Relations, Government
202-285-5333
lia.p.davis@us.ibm.com

Reilly Starr
IBM Media Relations
917-472-3741
starrr@us.ibm.com

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