Smart Cards To Confront Health Care

Can smart-card-based technology reengineer the U.S. medical claims and payment processing system? That's the plan of RealMed Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., a health care claims resolution company. It is targeting the growing cost of the current paper-based system (estimated at 20% to 30% of the $1.1 trillion the U.S. spends annually on health care). Through smart cards, RealMed believes all claims processing costs could be reduced up to 30%. (About what similar systems have saved in Europe). Participants in the plan include Gemplus (smart card technology), Digital Equipment (hardware and support services), and MCI Telecommunications (private network). Together they will create a comprehensive, end-to-end solution linking patients, physicians, and insurance companies via a single claims resolution network. RealMed says that claim processing, a procedure that today might take seven to 45 days, could be reduced to five minutes or less with the smart card system.

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