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UnitedHealth Deploying EHR Technology with Providers

The company says its goal is to help health care providers meet the final Meaningful Use requirements for electronic health records.

UnitedHealth Group (Minneapolis, UHG), a health insurance holding company, has launched several new initiatives designed to help providers adopt electronic health records (EHRs).

Its Ingenix division, which provides insurance IT services, has introduced CareTracker for Federally Qualified Health Centers, a cloud-based EHR system that integrates with a specially designed suite of administrative management services tailored to the specific challenges of these community health centers, according to a company release. Ingenix believes that this will support broader adoption of Meaningful Use compliant EHRs by health centers, it says.

In addition, its UnitedHealthcare business is deploying nationally its performance-based contracting program, which provides outcomes-based financial incentives to physicians who have successfully adopted EHR systems that meet Department of Health and Human Services Meaningful Use criteria. The program previously was available only in selected regional markets.

Also, practice experts in UnitedHealthcare's Physician Advocate Program, who assist physicians with their administrative work, will now receive special training to support physician practices in qualifying and applying for federal reimbursement when purchasing meaningful use-compliant EHRs. In addition, they will support physician practices with access to the Ingenix CareTracker EHR, which provides all of the capabilities necessary for physicians to demonstrate Meaningful Use. This augmented program will be rolled out in 14 states across the country.

“These initiatives are part of an enterprise-wide initiative to enable the fullest possible adoption of EHRs, which we believe are critical to enhanced quality, safety and cost-effective delivery of care," Reed Tuckson, MD, executive vice president and chief of medical affairs at UnitedHealth Group, says in a statement.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the final Meaningful Use rules for EHRs on July 13. Two companion final rules were announced today. One regulation, issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, defines the minimum requirements that providers must meet through their use of certified EHR technology in order to qualify for the payments. The other rule, issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, identifies the standards and certification criteria for the certification of EHR technology, so eligible professionals and hospitals may be assured that the systems they adopt are capable of performing the required functions.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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