Cerner announced this week that it has formed a partnership with the US Social Security Administration aimed at speeding up the process of applying for disability benefits.
The agreement aims to make the retrieval of secure clinical electronic health records more transparent, the vendor said.
“Cerner is proud to help the federal government better support those in need by delivering the benefits they are entitled to faster and more efficiently,” said Sam Lambson, vice president of interoperability at Cerner, in a statement.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
Applying for disability benefits from Social Security is notoriously cumbersome, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only complicated the situation for many potential recipients.
As part of its decision-making process, the SSA requests more than 15 million medical records each year from 500,000 providers — what it calls “the most common source of delays in the disability determination process.”
These records most often come in the form of faxed or scanned images.
Through EHR retrieval partnerships with Cerner and other health IT organizations and systems, SSA hopes to make decisions faster, putting funds in the hands of the people who need them sooner.
Cerner and SSA say their collaboration to automate data aims to alleviate administrative burdens, reduce costs and labor, and eliminate the sending of paper documents. This will potentially reduce unpaid care, automate SSA payments, and improve patient satisfaction.
Cerner will pilot the solution with three of its customers in the coming months, the vendor said; he plans to expand the offer to other customers who choose to participate.
THE GREAT TREND
Representatives say that while Cerner’s interoperability solutions can connect to hundreds of different EHRs, the initial goal of this project is to support SSA connections to Cerner customers who choose to take advantage of the service.
However, the SSA has partnered with more than 200 other partner organizations, including the Regenstrief Institute, Kaiser Permanente, MedVirginia and Cedars-Sinai, as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
“SSA’s work with Cerner will help streamline the process and is an important example of how systems that connect to each other can help improve our health and quality of life,” said Cerner’s Lambson.