Electronic Records Plan Could Highlight Problems
A plan announced last week under which five large U.S. companies that provide health insurance for 2.5 million employees, retirees and dependents will offer an interoperable electronic health record system "will create new problems as it solves old ones, and some problems it simply will port over to the digital age," a Los Angeles Times editorial states (Los Angeles Times, 12/11).
The system, called Dossia, was founded by Applied Materials, BP America, Intel, Pitney Bowes and Wal-Mart. Each company contributed about $1.5 million toward development of the system. The founders of the initiative have tasked Omnimedix Institute with building the PHR infrastructure. Omnimedix will collect data from insurers, pharmacies and providers, and patients will be able to add information such as their family's medical history (California Healthline, 12/7).
According to the editorial, the "most immediate benefit of this program ... may be to show" the problems related to the establishment of an EHR system. The "entire health care industry has to digitize its records and put them in a standard format that any doctor or hospital can use," and "there has to be a way for individuals to correct errors in the records without rendering them unreliable," the editorial states.
In addition, the protection of EHRs from "hackers and identity thieves is another challenge," according to the editorial. However, the editorial states, "Dossia got two important things right. It won't collect employees' records without their permission. And it says it won't supply those records to anyone but the employee (or authorized family member), sacrificing some efficiency for security."
The editorial concludes, "The most important contribution Dossia is likely to make, though, is that it will show how much more work needs to be done throughout the industry to solve the medical records morass in a way that works for doctors and patients alike" (Los Angeles Times, 12/11).