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Health Care Groups Develop Pilot to Automate Patient Intake Process

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) in partnership with the Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation, HIMSS, and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), assembled more than 40 representatives from major health plans, providers, HIT vendors, health care organizations, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in an effort to develop an effective and consistent industry blueprint for a virtual clipboard mobile application. This meeting was the first step of a campaign to develop and pilot an effective and consistent industry blueprint for the patient intake process, including automating the collection of critical health insurance and demographic information.

"We've been talking about the importance of shifting to a paperless health care environment for years but the patient intake process is still mired in the '70s. Not only does the current process add unnecessary costs in the system, but it can lead to treatment complications due to inaccurate or incomplete health records," says Devin Jopp, EdD, president and CEO of WEDI. "Through a collaboration driven by WEDI, the Sullivan Institute for Health Innovation, and our other partners, we are committed to moving away from the existing routine of clipboards, photocopiers, and manual keystrokes, and toward use of a patient-friendly virtual clipboard."

The initiative will focus on identifying and promoting effective and actionable electronic approaches to patient information capture, maintenance, and dissemination that leverage mobile devices and "smart" technologies and applications. The goal of the first phase of the pilot will be to allow patients to submit all of their pertinent health insurance and demographic information and other intake data through an easy-to-use and standardized mobile approach. The second phase of the pilot is expected to consist of patients being able to exchange essential health information—including medication reconciliation and allergies—in a digital format at the time of check-in with their provider.

"Physician practices currently must deal with numerous proprietary approaches to health insurance cards, lack of automated solutions, and challenges associated with collecting and recording accurate patient data," says Anders M. Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs for MGMA. "This important initiative has the potential of significantly improving the patient intake process, currently an overly burdensome and costly component of the health care system. We commend the Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation for taking on the formidable task of bringing key stakeholders together in this effort to reduce administrative inefficiencies."

"For years, HIMSS has worked with its members on patient record matching and patient data integrity," says Lisa Gallagher, vice president of technology solutions at HIMSS. "We anticipate that this project will address data quality in a significant way and deliver a near-term, real solution for patients and the industry alike."

Source: Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange