This blog has previously discussed the importance of medical facilities taking the necessary measures to ensure that they remain HIPAA compliant and always keep patient safety and security a top priority. With technology evolving more each day, this is an increasingly important need.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the IT system used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently underwent a successful hardware and software system upgrade. The HIPAA Eligibility Transaction System (HETS) had been suffering from slow response times and system availability issues since its beginning in 2005, reported FierceHealth IT.
HETS was used by providers and others to determine Medicare eligibility. Upgrades were first scheduled for the system in 2010, but a second round was deemed necessary, according to the source.
The report from GAO found that there were fewer user concerns - 244 organizations, including 130 providers use the system. Over the first six months of 2012, users initiated more than 380 million transactions, with an average response time of two seconds.
"HETS provides faster response times as well as more complete information and reliable service than the other beneficiary eligibility verification systems they use," users said to the auditors.
Furthermore, calls to the CMS help desk dropped to 64 per week, a dramatic drop from the previous amount of 133 per week, according to the report.
Upgrades such as this are critical for medical facilities to ensure that they are able to provide quality and efficient care to patients. Organizations that wish to either implement new systems, or just improve upon current ones, should partner with a healthcare consultant. An individual who is knowledgeable in healthcare IT consulting specifically, will be beneficial in helping facilities stay up-to-date.