A strong argument can be made that the success of long-term health care reform and the promotion and meaningful use of health information technology are linked, according to a new report from consultancy Computer Sciences Corp.

Adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records, for instance, can improve health insurers' disease and case management programs by augmenting their traditional and limited use of claims data with clinical data.

However, implementing I.T. and achieving meaningful use will strain the resources of provider organizations and could threaten the stability of health plans' provider networks, according to Falls Church, Va.-based CSC. "During this time, it will be difficult for plans and payers to engage provider organizations for the collaboration and innovations in payment, organization and network arrangements that may be required to support responses to health care reform mandates," report author Jordan Battani states. "At the same time, payers and plans may even see an increase in health care costs as financial pressures from aggressive HIT projects increase the incentive for providers to shift costs onto more lucrative commercial payer contracts and populations."

To access the full free report, "Meaningful Use for Health Plans: Five Things to Consider," click here.

--Joseph Goedert


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