FRANKLIN HEALTH: Web Service Seeks to Repair Fray Between Consumers and Health Plans
Franklin Health Inc., will announce today that it has contracted with two large Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans and Ingersoll- Rand Corp. to provide Web services designed to give employees and health plan members "more control over their health care decisions," the Wall Street Journal reports. The Web product will allow consumers to choose their doctors, evaluate treatment options and monitor general health. Franklin Health -- a small firm that has specialized in care management of very sick patients -- said it has entered a five-year deal with Blue Cross and Blue Shield in hopes that it will "promote Franklin Health's Internet program to more than 70 million Americans covered by 49 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in the U.S." Unlike Healtheon/WebMD and drkoop.com which market Web services to consumers, Franklin's service will focus on "what in many cases is the badly frayed relationships between health plans and consumers." The strategy encompasses the "growing belief" among employers and insurers that the key to "fight a resurgence of health costs" is to give employees more control over their medical decisions and more financial responsibility for those choices. The site, personalpath.com, will give patients the ability to obtain "instant information customized to their health problems or needs," including advice on treatment and medication. Consumers also will be able to build their own personal medical records (Winslow, 3/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.