OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente and the Social Security Administration today announced an exciting program designed to improve services for patients filing disability claims. The organizations are launching a pilot program to exchange electronic health record information using the Nationwide Health Information Network.
The new exchange relationship between Kaiser Permanente and the SSA significantly improves convenience for patients filing disability claims by expediting the receipt of benefits. Sharing medical information electronically shortens the current laborious manual process of filing and collecting medical records.
In the past, a patient would have to go to SSA to fill out paperwork, which would then be followed by a faxed request from SSA to Kaiser Permanente to verify claim information. The health care organization’s regional health information management department would then receive the request, find the information and send it back to SSA. The new health information exchange completely automates that process and eliminates unnecessary back and forth and manual processing.
“Kaiser Permanente has pioneered the digital exchange of health information with other institutions for several years, and this latest work with the SSA represents another major milestone in our journey," said John E. Mattison, MD, chief medical information officer and assistant medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “We’re dedicated to improving care coordination through safe and secure information exchange, and the SSA has been an innovative partner in this work.”
The program puts the highest priority on patient privacy and data security, and no exchange of information will occur without the explicit permission of the individual patient. Explicit policies and technologies to safeguard patient information are part of the NwHIN. Patient information will not be shared without first obtaining their consent.
“Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to supporting safe and secure health information exchange for members, and our work with the Social Security Administration will enable our patients to obtain quicker decisions on their disability benefits,” said Lisa Caplan, Kaiser Permanente senior vice president and business information officer, Care Delivery. “Our goal is to ultimately make access to health information easy, convenient and secure for patients.”
The pilot begins in the coming month and will include several Kaiser Permanente facilities in Southern California, specifically in the San Diego area, and covering a significant patient population.
“I am confident that people will look back at today’s announcement as the most significant improvement in our disability determination process since the program began in 1956. In today’s world it makes no sense for us to chase down paper records on an individual basis,” said Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of Social Security. “We are thrilled that Kaiser Permanente is now one of our key agents for change.”
Kaiser Permanente will join the 13 current partners that exchange data across the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange with the Social Security Administration. The electronic process has proven to be a more efficient system to obtain medical records and reduces the time it takes to make medical decisions on disability claims, resulting in quicker access to monthly cash benefits and medical insurance coverage for qualified disability applicants.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
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