ROUNDUP: MVP Offers Online Claim Tracking
Doctors and hospitals in upstate New York will soon be able to check the status of claims filed with MVP Health Plan online, the Capital District Business Review reports. As part of a larger effort to give providers and consumers more information electronically, MVP will launch the new Web site Sept. 1 and add more features, including the ability to add or delete members or add dependents over the Internet, in the following months. The online claim tracking service is expected to reduce the time doctors, their support staff and HMO staff members spend checking claims by phone (Moorse, 8/7).
CareGroup, a network of six hospitals and hundreds of Boston physicians, is planning to expand its PatientSite program, which allows patients to request prescription refills, make doctor appointments and look up test results online. While the program is being lauded as convenient and efficient for patients and their doctors, it also raises privacy concerns. To eliminate the problems, PatientSite uses encryption software similar to that used by banks and online retailers, according to CareGroup Chief Medical Officer John Halamka. Critics also have expressed concern over the potential for patients to misinterpret test results. Halamka indicated that PatientSite will not "overwhelm patients [with] information they can't understand." He noted that the site would post explanatory X-ray reports, rather than the X-rays themselves. He also said that physicians will have access to all test results before they are posted, allowing them time to call patients first if the news is bad. Biopsy results will not be posted (Pope, Contra Costa Times, 8/3).
Kudos for Blue Cross
Blue Cross of California's redesigned Web site, www.bluecrossca.com was recently awarded a bronze prize in the World Wide Web Health Awards sponsored by the Health Information Resource Center. The Web site underwent a "complete redesign," and was honored in the advertising/marketing information category. A panel of 21 judges selected winners based on key criteria, including quality, depth and relevance of information, the ability to attract and hold users' interest and the site's design and interactive capability (WellPoint release, 8/1).