CMS testing personal health records

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is testing the feasibility of integrating Medicare claims history information with other agency Internet-based tools to provide personal health records for Medicare beneficiaries.

The PHR Feasibility Test is part of a plan to promote the growth of personal health records, which ultimately could let Medicare users track, monitor and securely access their health care information.

'By using emerging technologies and tools, people with Medicare will be better able to manage their health care, resulting in improved quality in the care they receive and ensuring that care is provided more efficiently,' said CMS Administrator Mark McClellan last week in a statement. CMS is an agency of the Health and Human Services.

CMS recently awarded two six-month contracts with a combined value of $500,000 to ViPS of Baltimore, Md., and Capstone Government Solutions LLC of Nashville, Tenn., to test the transfer of Medicare claims data into personal health records.

Currently, Medicare beneficiaries receive personalized information about their Medicare benefits and services at My.Medicare.gov pages. Although they are not true personal health records, users can save, update, and keep a record of their self-entered prescription drug and pharmacy information that can be retrieved at any time with a password, date and confirmation number, HHS said. This allows them to have a record of their current drug list with them at all times.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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