The smart cards would carry not only the covered person's name, plan ID number and sufficient other information to check eligibility, but also their data would be “presented in a readily identifiable manner on the card or, alternatively, embedded on the card and available through electronic extraction using a magnetic stripe or other means.”
Jessee has long campaigned for administrative simplification, including leveraging standardized information technology. Last year, the MGMA joined in a report by a healthcare coalition that estimated we could squeeze up to $500 billion out of the healthcare system over a 10-year period just by adopting a spate of business process improvements, including ID cards, already in widespread use in other industries.
The MGMA has been pushing its Project SwipeIT initiative this year as one element of this broader program.
Jessee was traveling and unavailable to talk about the New Jersey plan and the national smart card initiative, but Robert Tennant, the MGMA's Washington-based senior policy adviser, filled in for him, citing data from a membership survey.
“We actually looked at what the waste was associated with a paper care, the extra time it took to input patients' information, what was the percentage of time that due to human error someone has inputted the wrong member name, number or spelled the name wrong,” Tennant said. “We estimated the waste associated with these is $2.2 billion a year.
“That‘s really not Jules Verne,” Tennant said. Many of the higher tech practices can do that now, “not with cards, but with key strokes.”
“You can do that now at the gas station,” he said. “You can swipe a card and generate a transaction. Why not with healthcare?”
Tennant said the MGMA supports state efforts to mandate the use of patient smart cards, but, “obviously, we'd prefer the national approach. We're advocating to HHS that they take this as a mandate.”