Medicare Announces Launch of PHR Pilot in South Carolina

TOPIC ALERT:

On Monday, CMS announced the launch of a personal health record pilot program in South Carolina that will provide thousands of Medicare beneficiaries with online access to their hospital and physician claims information, Government Health IT reports.

CMS hopes the voluntary pilot program will help it learn more about consumers' use of PHRs and how to encourage them to use the tools.

Palmetto GBA, which processes Medicare claims from South Carolina, populated the PHRs with the hospital and physician claims data. In addition, beneficiaries who use the PHRs will be able to enter information on their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, as well as find links to Web sites with information related to their health conditions, CMS officials said.

PHR users also can share their records with their families and health care providers by designating them as their authorized representatives. The representatives will receive their own user IDs and passwords, Government Health IT reports.

The initiative only is open to those enrolled in Medicare fee-for-service plans.

Delayed Launch

The South Carolina pilot launched April 4, according to CMS officials. The pilot was scheduled to begin earlier this year but was slowed by "serious security issues," according to CMS CIO Julie Boughn.

CMS said that its PHR contractors, led by QSSI, comply with federal data security standards and that strict privacy safeguards are in place to protect patient data.

HealthTrio, a provider of employer-sponsored PHRs, provided the PHRs for the project (Ferris, Government Health IT, 5/5).


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