Aetna chief downplays Google Health's potential

Chris Kanaracus of IDG News Service reports:

A top medical insurance executive on Wednesday downplayed the potential impact of services from Microsoft and Google that are aimed at helping users store and share their health records with providers.

Google Health went into beta on Monday. It follows the launch of similar efforts, such as Microsoft’s Health Vault.

“I think anything we can do to kill the paper is good, and having health data stored in central places is helpful as long as we have good security and standards,” said Ronald Williams, CEO of Aetna, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s CIO Symposium event.

But what the software companies don’t have, he asserted, is an “interest in improving the system or looking for gaps in care. When the data goes there, it is really static and stored.”

Williams argued that those efforts cannot compare to Aetna’s in-house customer records portal, the CareEngine System, which launched in 2006.

He called the system Aetna’s “secret sauce.” It compiles member data from sources such as medical, pharmacy and lab claims, then compares it against a database of medical literature and research in an attempt to spot potential problems and need for additional care. The system generates alerts to patients and physicians regarding such findings.

Full story – InfoWorld

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