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CMS Unveils Major IT Overhaul

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a plan to overhaul its IT systems to both bring it more squarely into the health IT future and to comply with mandates set out in last year’s healthcare reform law.

The 73-page plan, aims to modernize the agency’s data systems, while at the same time eliminating and controlling redundancies, improving business systems and streamlining processes for billing and eligibility.

It’s more than just an IT update, and CMS has a name for its “central technical vision”: the Enterprise Data Environment.

This step-by-step approach aims to usher in the health IT future, marked by “free and secure exchange of electronic health records between providers, payers, patients and federal partners,” in the words of the report.

The Hill’s health policy blog HealthWatch reports the overhaul is two-pronged in nature.

First, the agency seeks to obtain “more robust” healthcare analytics.

Then, CMS wants to improve care by incentivizing providers based on these “quality performance metrics.”

FierceHealthIT said CMS’ planned IT and data systems upgrade represented a “major step in its efforts to comply with the healthcare reform,” and HealthWatch also noted CMS’ efforts to align its IT posture with new regulations.

However, the report notes the update is likely a necessity even without the new IT mandates, because CMS expects its programs and the amount of data it manages to only increase in the coming years.

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