The Social Security Administration (SSA) is partnering with Kaiser Permanente to electronically transmit complete medical records for Kaiser’s patients to SSA with the appropriate consent. Social Security requests about 70,000 patient files from Kaiser each year so this seamless new system will save time and money for both partners as well as allow SSA to make faster and more accurate decisions. The agreement with Kaiser marks the agency’s first move into using health information technology on a large scale basis.
In April 2012, SSA and DOD implemented a new process to improve efficiency for service members applying for disability benefits. Today, a nationwide project enables Social Security disability case processing sites to receive military medical records from multiple DOD facilities with a single request to a centralized DOD site. Originally, the pilot program included five states and more than 60 military treatment facilities and now these states can receive EMRs within 72 hours.
Over the last few years, SSA has entered into similar agreements with several smaller providers to exchange medical records electronically over the Nationwide Health Information Network.
Some of the other SSA partnerships include:
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center started exchanging medical records with SSA in 2008. To protect patient confidentiality, the first step is to include the patient’s consent to release information in the medical record
- Centra went live in 2011 with SSA but a problem developed because several types of data were involved and those problems had to be resolved
- Community Health Information Collaborative found it a challenge to provide a Continuity of Care Document to meet SSA’s requirements
- Douglas County Independent Practice Association found that in order to transfer information, it was necessary to map data to the database so that information wasn’t missing
- EHR Doctors starting in 2011 was able to connect with SSA but did not always find the process easy, but found that working closely with SSA’s team of technical experts produced good results
- Inland Northwest Health Services first collects and then collates the records into a single document to send the document for disability determination
- Marshfield Clinic found that reconciling the difference in state and federal law for medical information requirements is not always easy
- MedVirginia an original pilot partner with SSA exchanged data electronically over the NwHIN. In two years, this health IT partnership has generated more than $6,000,000 in revenue for MedVirginia partner Bon Secours Richmond Health System
- LCF Research created the New Mexico Health Information Collaborative to help develop the NwHIN standards, services, and policies but found the project difficult in terms of developing the technology needed
- Oregon Community Health Information Network (OCHIN) worked on a NwHIN pilot project and was able to send information electronically to quickly make disability determinations especially for the at-risk and vulnerable populations that OCHIN providers often serve
- Regenstrief found that while the project had its share of technical and coding challenges, they were able to achieve good results
For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/hit.