California Health Care Information Technology Projects Profiled
Healthcare Informatics this month profiled several health care information technology projects underway in California. The initiatives, which are aimed at improving care quality and patient access, demonstrate that "selective investment in IT could enable better quality, which in turn could reduce costs for individual patients and episodes of care," according to Healthcare Informatics. Descriptions of the projects are provided below.
- The Pacific Business Group on Health's HealthScope provides consumers with online access to quality ratings for providers, hospitals and health plans based on clinical, administrative and patient experience.
- The Palo Alto Medical Foundation provides patients with access to their medical records, electronic appointment scheduling and a messaging service with providers. The system reduces staff time spent on scheduling and improves patient-physician communication.
- Under the Integrated Healthcare Association's Pay for Performance program, Aetna, Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Cigna, Health Net and PacifiCare have agreed to give medical groups in their networks up to 2% in extra pay if they are rated well using a series of quality measurements. The program also directly rewards groups for the use of IT (Boland et al., Healthcare Informatics, October 2003).