Critical Read

Leaky data integration costs billions

Header image for Meritalk's

("The Economics of Eligibility" / Meritalk)

What: “The Economics of Eligibility: The Cost of Eligibility and Verification Challenges for Government Healthcare Benefits,” a MeriTalk survey of 155 federal, state and local health IT professionals.

Why: Mismatched and diverse types of data processing systems are  costing governments billions. The MeriTalk study, underwritten by big data solutions provider MarkLogic Corp., looked at the challenges health and human services agencies have integrating, managing and accessing a vast amount of highly disparate patient information. The study said data integration was cited as the number one challenge by respondents, who say it results in $342 billion in lost benefits per year. The loss was based on the estimated $1.7 trillion in total health care benefits paid out annually by departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, and the Social Security Administration.

Forty-seven percent of respondents  said a focus on data integration could eliminate significant financial loss, with faster and more accurate results for agency service customers. Forty-three percent said their current data integration and processing systems cripple their agency’s ability to meet beneficiary needs.

Health care IT professionals are widely displeased with existing infrastructure, according to the study. Just 22 percent of managers said their current systems were “analytical” and only16 percent called their systems “intuitive.”

Verbatim: “Today’s agencies take more than three work weeks to confirm benefit eligibility. Even with the lengthy process, case workers estimate 11percent of the people who receive government health care benefits are not actually eligible.”

Full report: Read the study here.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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