ROUNDUP: L.A. County Teams With I-Trax.com to Track Youth Asthma
- California: Internet company I-Trax.com is helping the Los Angeles County Health Department and the University of Southern California to "address the rampant and epidemic-level asthma problem among the county's youth population." The county will use the company's AsthmaWatch service to track the ongoing care of asthma patients. Using the system, prescriptions, reports, diagnostic tests and education forms -- formerly paper-based -- are processed and generated automatically, based on recorded vital signs, peak flow testing, acute episode logs and growth charting of patient data. Under this pilot program, the AsthmaWatch system will be installed in primary, specialty and urgent care facilities and satellite clinics as well as pharmacies (I-Trax.com release, 1/26).
- Minnesota: As the "Digital Age meets the personnel department," St. Paul-based Minnesota Life Insurance Co. has become one of the first in its field to offer online employee benefit enrollment services. Employees can now sign up for life, health, disability or variable insurance via the Internet as well as compare previous coverage selections, insurance limits, deductibles and co-payments on the Web. One insurance industry analyst noted that such an innovation "should really work for the employers" because it could reduce the size of their human resources staff while providing "a quick track record of exactly who signed up for what" (DePass, Minneapolis Star- Tribune, 1/31).
- Florida: Deerfield Beach-based PriMed Technologies now helps doctors with claims processing, prescriptions, dictation, transcription, document imaging and accounts receivable over the Internet. Using fingerprint identification to access these services, the company lets doctors create their own packages to fit administrative needs. Subscriber fees range from $1,000 to $2,500 per month (Soeldner Danger, Miami Herald, 1/31).
- Pennsylvania: Malvern-based Shared Medical Systems Corporation (SMS) announced a joint venture with drkoop.com, Inc. to created the "world's largest completely connected online health care community." Uniting one million registered users of www.drkoop.com with more than 200,000 doctors affiliated with SMS and over 2,000 health organizations, the collaboration will provide a secure online arena for interaction between patients, doctors and health organizations. The alliance hopes to better integrate consumers in the health management process and to allow health agencies to improve access to their care and services (SMS and drkoop.com, Inc. release, 2/1).
- Washington, D.C.: HHS's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has launched a new online Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator. Patients can now access a list of both public and private, certified treatment facilities in any state, city or community nationwide by typing in a specific ZIP code. Patients can select from facilities in their area that provide the type of services they are seeking. The system also is designed "to ensure the privacy [and] confidentiality of individuals who use it" (SAMHSA release, 1/26).