May 25, 2007 (08:05 PM EDT)
Employee Personal Health Records Pressure Doctors To Go Digital
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
Chronic diseases such as diabetes account for 70% of Verizon's health care costs, and giving its employees personal health records to manage their care could help them live healthier and thereby cut those costs. The telecom company has another agenda, though, one that corporate America's getting behind: to pressure doctors into going digital. If more than 100,000 Verizon employees track their health care data with online records, they're likely to push their doctors to adopt them--or move to physicians who have them. "Consumer involvement can drive change," says Donna Chiffriller, Verizon's VP of benefits.
Verizon isn't alone in promoting online employee health records. WebMD's other business customers include IBM and Starbucks. A consortium that includes Wal-Mart and Intel is building a personal health record system called Dossia with the Omnimedix Institute, a privately funded health IT organization. Most companies that offer personal records offer employees incentives to use the system. Omnimedix CEO J.D. Kleinke thinks employer-sponsored approaches like Dossia represent the best chance to get broad use of digital health records. But they're not without problems, since even if employees can access their data after they leave their current employer, there's no sure bet they can get claims data to populate it.
The best option could be to combine such personal records with data flowing from regional health data exchanges, if more of those get up and running. If companies can turn millions of insurance-wielding employees into e-records advocates, it will put pressure on the health care industry to charge ahead.
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