Employer Consortium Pushes PHRs

Seen at Health Data Management:

A consortium of eight large employers, including Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is slowly moving forward with plans to provide their employees with personal health records.

The Dossia employer consortium, based in Portland, Ore., is testing aspects of the infrastructure, linking data from insurers, pharmacies and other sources to a central repository, says Colin Evans, president. Next, Dossia will approach dozens of provider organizations in the cities where most of its members’ employees work to begin building links to their electronic health records systems.

By the third quarter, Dossia plans to move to the next phase, when employers will roll out the full PHR to subsets of their employees, such as those in certain cities, Evans says. The PHRs will be offered to all 5 million employees, dependents and retirees of sponsoring companies, in phases, starting late this year or early next year, he adds.

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Dossia is a not-for-profit organization. In addition to Wal-Mart, consortium members are BP America, Intel Corp., Pitney Bowes, AT&T Inc., Cardinal Health and sanofi-aventis. Each is providing $1.5 million in startup funds and later will pay annual transaction fees for each employee.

“Their motivation is economic,” Evans says. “Most employers see health care costs exploding beyond their ability to control it. We want to get as many employers as possible together to provide the tools to empower employees to become better users of health care.”

Employees will be able to designate which providers can see specific data within their PHR. They will not be able to delete any data, but can add comments to it, Evans says. They’ll also be able to enter information on their conditions.

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