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US Government Accountability Office Study on Potential Use of Electronically Readable Medicare Cards Features Extensive WEDI Contributions

April 28, 2015

WEDI selected to provide guidance on ways to improve security and enhance administrative processes in the care continuum

RESTON, Va. — April 28, 2015 — The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the nation’s leading nonprofit authority on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange, served as a key contributing resource to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) for a study on the use of electronically readable cards in Medicare. The report, “Potential Uses of Electronically Readable Cards for Beneficiaries and Providers” was released to the public on Apr. 24, 2015 and examines the ways in which electronically readable cards could be used for Medicare to replace paper Medicare cards, which display beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers.

GAO reviewed industry reports on the potential benefits associated with electronically readable cards and interviewed industry officials to examine the potential benefits and limitations associated with the use of electronically readable cards in Medicare. The GAO also wanted to understand the steps CMS and Medicare providers would need to take in order to implement and use electronically readable cards. As part of the development of the study, GAO interviewed officials from federal agencies and stakeholder organizations with knowledge and expertise related to the potential uses of electronically readable cards, including WEDI executives Devin Jopp, Ed.D, president and CEO; Jim Daley, then-chair; and Peter Barry, Health ID Card Sub-Workgroup co-chair.

The report found that “CMS—the agency that administers Medicare—could use electronically readable cards in Medicare for a number of different purposes. Three key uses include authenticating beneficiary and provider presence at the point of care, electronically exchanging beneficiary medical information, and electronically conveying beneficiary identity and insurance information to providers.”

“WEDI has a long standing history in the health ID card space and is well known for the standard that is in use across the industry today,” said Jopp. “We applaud the GAO report and are pleased to see WEDI’s thought leadership recognized in the report. Looking ahead, WEDI is working, in partnership with the Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation, MGMA, and HIMSS on bringing the next generation of health ID cards to bear that will leverage mobile technology to streamline the patient check-in process by using applications rather than cards to provide benefit information and essential health records.”

The new partnership, entitled the Virtual Clipboard Initiative is being designed to facilitate the patient intake process, including automating the collection of critical health insurance and demographic information.   

 

About WEDI

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is the leading authority on the use of health IT to improve healthcare information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of our nation’s healthcare system. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was designated in the 1996 HIPAA legislation as an advisor to HHS. WEDI’s membership includes a broad coalition of organizations, including: hospitals, providers, health plans, vendors, government agencies, consumers, not-for-profit organizations, and standards development organizations. To learn more, visit www.wedi.org and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.