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Social Security Administration using Nationwide Health Information Network to gather medical information

In March, the Social Security Administration became the first government entity to begin using the Nationwide Health Information Network Information Network (NHIN). NHIN was developed to establish a nationwide service to share quality, secure, common information in a timely manner and allow medical providers to share a wealth of information for better medical care. The goal of the Social Security Administration is to receive and evaluate medical records in minutes instead of weeks or even months. The Social Security Administration processes on average three million Social Security Disability applications each year and requests over fifteen million medical records from medical providers across the United States. Unfortunately, each of the over 900,000 medical providers who currently provide medical information have to gather the data manually. The federal government and the private sector partnered together to create a system which will allow a secure exchange of medical information between patients and medical care providers. The immediate access of medical information will hopefully decrease the time it takes for the Social Security Administration to receive medical records, which is currently one of the main barriers to making timely Social Security Disability decision. According to Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, the NHIN system is a "safe and secure method for receiving electronic medical records and will allow us to improve our service to the public by cutting days, if not weeks, off the time it takes to make a disability decision." This is great news for the 2.6 millions individuals who apply for Social Security Disability benefits as well as everyone involved in the medical documentation process. With the development of the NHIN system, medical professionals will be able to spend less time in the labor intensive process of gathering and submitting medical records and more time treating patients. How does the Nationwide Health Information Network Information Network (NHIN) work? NHIN will allow the Social Security system to send electronic messages to certain medical facilities listed as treating facilities on the patient's Social Security Disability application. The electronic message will automatically request the medical record and the treating facility will respond by providing the medical information on line. Within minutes, all relevant medical information will be easily viewed and evaluated by the Social Security Administration.  Medical codes may also be assigned to certain medical conditions which will allow the disability examiners to obtain the records and evaluate the Social Security Disability applications more quickly. The Social Security Administration has developed new technologies in the last few years including NHIN, the online application process and hiring more employees in an effort to speed up the Social Security Disability determination process. This is good news for the millions of unemployed, disabled Americans who are waiting for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are one of the millions of applicants waiting for a decision, or if you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney can increase your chances of being awarded Social Security Disability benefits at all stages of the disability application process.