Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Medicare Pilot to Maintain PHRs

CMS is developing a pilot program to test options for beneficiaries to be able to maintain their health records electronically. Under this pilot in Arizona and Utah, a beneficiary may choose one of the selected commercial PHR tools, and Medicare will transfer up to two years of the individual’s claims data into the individual’s PHR. Beneficiaries can elect to allow family members and healthcare providers to have access to their PHRs.

Medicare’s administrative contractor, Noridian Administrative Services released a solicitation to potential PHR vendors on August 8th. The program is scheduled to begin in January 2009 and will offer Medicare beneficiaries in the two states a choice of several PHR options.

Beneficiaries who select one of the participating PHR vendors can add other personal health information if they choose. Depending on the specific product, they may be able to authorize links to other personal electronic information such as pharmacy data. PHRs can link to tools to help consumers manage their health such as to wellness programs for tracking diet and exercise, link to information on medical devices and health education, plus provide links to tools to detect potential medication interactions.

Letters of intent are due August 18, 2008. The PHR vendors have until September 8, 2008 to submit applications to participate in the pilot. On October 20, 2008, PHR vendors will be announced. For more information, go to or email