Lynchburg, Va.-based Centra Health's three hospitals have joined the Social Security Administration's MEGAHIT project to use health information exchange to shorten the time period for making decisions on disability applications.

Centra Health is using the MedVirginia health information exchange to send data via the emerging nationwide health information network to the SSA. MedVirginia was an early pilot site with the SSA to exchange disability-related information. The administration in February 2010 then awarded a total of $17.4 million in stimulus-funded grants to 15 organizations, including MedVirginia, to expand the program.

MedVirginia has linked to Centra's clinical information systems from McKesson Corp. The information exchange uses the Continuity of Care Document format to exchange the disability information. In total, SSA will use up to $40 million in stimulus funds to expand its use and support of health information technology. More information is available at ssa.gov/hit and medvirginia.com.

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