PHRs: Medicare to launch PHR program in Arizona, Utah

August 22, 2008

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to introduce a personal health records pilot program for Medicare patients in Arizona and Utah early next year.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to introduce a personal health records pilot program for Medicare patients in Arizona and Utah early next year.

Under the program, Medicare will transfer up to two years of claims data to a patient’s PHR. Patients may add data to their PHRs themselves, as well as share their records with their health care providers, according to CMS.

The move is part of a wider initiative by the federal government to encourage the use of information technology in the country’s health care system. The program is expected to launch in January, says CMS.

“This pilot is designed to evaluate how well PHRs meet the needs of our beneficiaries and whether PHRs can improve health outcomes and lower costs,” said Kerry Weems, CMS’ Acting Administrator.

CMS expects the program to offer Medicare patients “a choice of several PHR options,” Medicare’s administrative contractor has released a solicitation to potential PHR vendors.

On Oct. 20, CMS plans to announce four PHR vendors for the program, which is scheduled to go live Jan. 2. CMS launched a similar program in South Carolina in April.