CMS to test feasibility of e-personal health records

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking proposals for a feasibility test to transport Medicare claims data information into personal electronic health records for its beneficiaries.

The feasibility test is a first step toward letting Medicare beneficiaries engage directly in their medical care through easy access to their medical information, CMS said in its request for proposals last week on FedBizOpps.gov. CMS is an agency of the Health and Human Services Department.

Personal health records, which enable patients to store and manage their health information electronically, are available commercially as standalone software applications or posted at a Web site hosted by a private provider or insurance agency. Health care providers also populate their electronic health record systems with individuals' personal health records.

Besides testing functionality, CMS also wants to know about the business and operational aspects of data exchanges, including procedures for access, authorization for disclosures, authentication and reporting.

Under the contract, personal health records would translate claims data into layman's terms, provide unique login access for authorized and designated users, create a medication history and generate a printable report.

As the largest buyer of health care in the United States, CMS wants to take advantage of existing patient health records for Medicare beneficiaries and foster the development of its own personal health records targeted at the needs of the Medicare population.

CMS is currently testing a Medicare beneficiary portal that provides only Medicare information that CMS stores or collects, such as claim or benefit information. It is not intended as a complete personal health history for an individual.

Proposals are due March 30.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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