NeHC: Engaging Consumers is Critical to Healthcare’s Future

The future of healthcare must include consumer engagement in eHealth according to Healthcare Informatics which cites  a new survey of stakeholders by the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) and its partner HealthCAWS, a healthcare services company.

National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) is a public-private partnership that accelerates effective use of health IT to create a more patient and family centered healthcare system with better outcomes and greater value. NeHC works closely with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in the U.S.  Continue reading

Independence Blue Cross Presents Next-gen Mobile Insurer Apps At Insurance & Tech Executive Summit

PHILADELPHIA, Nov 7, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — Independence Blue Cross announced that its director of e-Business, Michael B. Yetter, will speak today about mobile app marketing strategies in health care with other industry leaders at the Insurance & Technology Annual Executive Summit held in Carefree, Arizona.

“As we look into 2012 and beyond, there are technologies and concepts that play a significant role in shaping development of next-gen apps for our health plan members, including Mobile Health, which is better known as mHealth,” said Yetter. “‘Gamification’ is a growing trend in the mobile app industry, which is applying game design concepts and principles to mobile apps to further strengthen our member engagement. People like to be entertained, to compete, and to be rewarded. The more these principles are applied to mobile apps, the deeper the engagement with the consumer. IBC is exploring cutting edge ways to ‘gamify’ mobile app strategies already in place, and we will soon be piloting a new wellness engagement and competition program that we hope to offer more broadly next year.”

Another hot topic as the health care industry shifts toward more individual coverage is mobile payment systems, and Yetter will discuss next-gen ideas for individuals to pay their health plan bills with their phones.

“IBC made a strong entry into the mobile app space during 2011 and we plan to continue to innovate for our customers and members, using the latest technologies to provide the time-saving features and convenience that their lives demand,” Yetter added.

Yetter will discuss the mobile platform race between Apple iOS, Google Android, Blackberry, and Windows in phone devices and tablets. He will share his insights that, while some platforms may lose market share, there is no single winner currently emerging, and developers will continue to face complexity in building apps for several health care industry platforms.

The Insurance & Technology Executive Summit is an invitation-only event for senior-level insurance company executives. The conference presents relevant content, authoritative speakers, and networking opportunities for sponsors. The event is comprised of conference sessions, vendor meetings, and networking-focused social activities.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross’s HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

 

BlueCross Completes Industry First Enterprise-Wide Data Encryption

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has successfully completed a $6 million effort to encrypt all at-rest data throughout its enterprise, giving members peace of mind that their personal information is secure.

In October 2009, 57 hard drives were stolen from a BlueCross facility. The hard drives contained audio and video recordings related to customer service telephone calls from providers and members, and included varying degrees of personal information on about 1 million members. To date, there is no indication of any misuse of personal data from the stolen hard drives.

In response to the theft, BlueCross worked to comply with all regulatory requirements, including notifying all impacted members and providing free credit monitoring services to members at a higher risk of identity theft. Next, the company launched and has now completed a major initiative to encrypt more than 885 terabytes of at-rest data residing within the enterprise.

“The trust of our members is one of our most important assets, and the hard drive theft represented a serious threat to that trust,” said Nick Coussoule, senior vice president and chief information officer for BlueCross. “The lessons we learned from the theft led us to go above and beyond current industry standards, and our team has worked tirelessly to put new safeguards in place and encrypt all our at-rest data.”

BlueCross invested more than $6 million and 5,000 man-hours in the data encryption effort, which included:

– 885 Terabytes of mass data storage
– 1,000 Windows, AIX, SQL, VMWare and Xen server hard drives
– 6,000 workstation hard drives and removable media drives
– 25,000 voice call recordings per day
– 136,000 volumes of backup tape

The company began by completing an exhaustive inventory of all the points where data resides within the company, from computer hard drives to servers and removable media devices, such as USB drives and CD/DVD burners. BlueCross divided the encryption efforts into six key areas of focus and completed the project in just over a year. As a result all at-rest, or stored, data is now encrypted.

“We searched the country and were unable to find another company that has achieved this level of data encryption,” said Michael Lawley, vice president of technology shared services for BlueCross. “In addition to world-class information security technology, we have adopted even stricter policies and procedures that support our ongoing commitment to security. Our members can rest easier knowing we implemented this process to better protect their privacy.”

Data encryption is achieved through the use of algorithms, which convert normal, readable information into an indecipherable format, and secure keys, which allow only authorized users to convert the information back into a format they can use. This means that even in the event of a theft or some other security breach, no one would be able to read the data contained on BlueCross hardware, whether it was a computer, server or flash drive.

For more information on BlueCross’ data encryption efforts, visit www.bcbst.com/data.

About BlueCross
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee offers its customers peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.bcbst.com.

 

Click4Care Announces Major Release of Its Care Management Platform

POWELL, OH–(Marketwire – May 31, 2011) – Click4Care™, an award-winning software company providing its care management platform to enable high quality healthcare at reduced overall cost, today announced the availability of Click4Care version 4.0. New functionality is provided for drastically enhanced transparency and traceability, quick compliance with industry regulations and improved processes and outcomes, all to support customers in their efforts to optimize member care and wellness.

Advanced analytics and data warehouse

Click4Care has enhanced its analytics and reporting environment by providing new, web-based analytics as well as a dedicated care management data warehouse. The data warehouse provides a new and unprecedented level of transparency and ease of use in the development of reports and analytics.

The analytics and reporting system supports strategic decision-making, tracking the efficacy of care plans and programs, as well as compliance with industry regulations. Users, supervisors, data analysts, reporting specialists, and other non-technical resources can leverage the full Click4Care data warehouse to easily create reports and graphs, schedule report delivery, and publish reports on the web for Click4Care end-users or other resources in the organization to access.

Enhanced care tracking

The Click4Care platform offers new integrated capabilities that extend and enrich the care manager’s holistic view of an individual, providing one consistent interface for all member interaction, including a view of all care opportunities such as: gaps in care, areas of need and problems. All elements of the enhanced care tracking include reportable and traceable information that delivers the ability to measure the effectiveness of care programs and provide true, impactable engagement. The system allows a care manager to customize a care plan to an individual’s needs, while maintaining the ability to report on its effectiveness. Click4Care’s method of capturing care plan activities allows detailed reporting on compliance, outcome and effectiveness which can help drive incentive-based benefits programs as well as regulatory and certification reporting.

Click4Care CEO Rob Gillette explains, “Our newest software release is another step forward in Click4Care’s commitment to market leadership in care management software. With the industry in a state of flux, our customers rely on us to continually innovate and develop visionary capabilities to ensure that our software solutions help them drive member-centric decision making, while reducing the cost of care and increasing its quality.”

About Click4Care
Click4Care is an award-winning software company providing its care management platform to address demand for high quality healthcare at reduced overall cost. Click4Care delivers a software platform that promotes a 360 degree view — ensuring that everyone in the care equation receives the information they need, when they need it, and on the communication medium they prefer — to optimize care and wellness. Streamlined workflows and improved operational efficiencies drive unprecedented return-on-investment for care managers; and, combined with predictive modeling, the solution provides life-improving care to members.  For more information, visit http://www.click4care.com.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Releases New Mobile App for iPhone and Android

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. (BCBSF) makes finding health care solutions easier for Floridians with the introduction of its first Florida Blue mobile app for the iPhone® and Android™ Smartphones.

Designed to help consumers save time and money, and stay healthy, the company’s latest mobile innovation brings health care to owners of iPhones and Android smartphones. By downloading the free app, members and non-members can easily get important health care information and tools to manage their health, as well as details about their BCBSF health plan and benefits, with just a tap.

“As a leader in Florida’s health care industry, BCBSF is focused on becoming a health solutions company by providing consumers better products and services they need via their channel of choice. Our mobile app offers another solution––giving our consumers access to the information they need––whenever they need it,” said Craig Thomas, chief marketing and strategy officer for BCBSF. “The new Florida Blue mobile app allows us to instantaneously provide relevant health tools and information while on the go.”

Last year, BCBSF launched its mobile website with great success. Now, members can view their ID card and get benefit details and plan information such as deductibles, Health Savings Account (HSA) balance, and recent claims updates––instantly. Members can also find a doctor based on their plan’s network, tap to save it to their contacts and map to the location. If a member leaves the doctor’s office with a prescription in hand, they can save money by comparing drug costs at local pharmacies.

Other tools and information are available for both members and non-members such as real-time updates on weather forecasts combined with weather-related health alerts such as pollen, air quality and UV levels along with tips for managing their asthma and allergy symptoms. The app also offers all users information on Florida Blue center health events based on GPS location and a health toolkit feature with tools such as the health check where by entering age and gender users receive a list of recommended health screenings and immunizations for themselves, or their family. Users can download free ringtones, enter monthly sweepstakes, and share news and information about health care reform and videos of real people in the pursuit of health, with family and friends via Facebook and Twitter™.

With a goal of giving Floridians faster access to health care information and tools from wherever they are, BCBSF focused on convenience, simplicity and value when designing the apps.

“The new Florida Blue app for iPhone and Android is the newest mobile solution available to Floridians. We are focused on understanding the needs of mobile users in the context of their health when on the go and providing mobile solutions to meet those needs,” said Adriana Murillo, director of strategic development for BCBSF.

To find out more information, visit www.bcbsfl.com/mobile.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF is a not-for-profit, policyholder-owned, tax-paying mutual company. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., BCBSF is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information concerning BCBSF, please see its Web site at www.bcbsfl.com.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc.

Michael Dell Shares Healthcare Vision: Information-Driven Care and Innovation

DANA POINT, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Michael Dell today shared his insights with healthcare executives on how information technology is being used to improve the efficiency and quality of care today and how IT can support future innovations in prevention, wellness and personalized medicine.

“Digitizing patient information and making it available in a secure and convenient way across our healthcare system are among the best opportunities we have to improve U.S. healthcare and create a better system for future generations of Americans.”

Speaking at the Health Evolution Partners Leadership Summit, Mr. Dell encouraged healthcare organizations to expedite adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and cloud computing to create new information-driven efficiency and care advantages. A longstanding advocate of preventative health, Mr. Dell said that a key benefit of solutions like EMRs is the correlation between higher-quality information and higher-quality care. Based on insights gleaned from working with healthcare organizations around world, he encouraged public and private healthcare leaders to:

1. Unlock Information

Enhanced digitization and the management and sharing of patient information will help eliminate information silos between patients, providers and payers. Today, Dell is providing EMR solutions to 40,000 clinicians through 20 hospital-affiliated programs. Seventy percent of the hospitals who have achieved the highest level of EMR deployment are Dell customers.

2. Empower Caregivers

Mr. Dell said IT implemented at the point of care can empower caregivers and enhance their productivity, a growing issue as the U.S. faces physician and nursing shortages and increasing aging and chronically-ill populations. Point-of-care solutions such as Mobile Clinical Computing, which enable clinicians to securely access patient EMR information from any device, are saving clinicians several hours per week to help hospitals reclaim thousands of hours for patient care each year.

3. Improve Business and Technology Infrastructure

Updated processes combined with the right technologies can also improve the business of healthcare to help hospitals reclaim time and money in a challenging economy. For example, Dell has helped hospitals recover $15 billion through revenue-cycle process and technology improvements over the last seven years, Mr. Dell explained. One hospital with a large percentage of public-pay patients reduced unbilled claims by 30 percent and increased their cash flow by $8 million a month by improving revenue cycle processes.

4. Use Information for Innovation

With an effective strategy in place to manage the dramatic increase of digital data generated by EMRs, imaging and genomic research, healthcare leaders can tap data for intelligence that will lead to major innovations in healthcare and create new opportunities for the industry.

Mr. Dell discussed how EMR data will help pharmaceutical companies develop targeted treatments for patients who do not respond to conventional drugs. And the integration of genome information with EMRs will enable physicians to develop lifetime wellness plans for patients with genetic predispositions to specific diseases or health conditions. More targeted therapies and lifetime wellness plans will maximize the billions of dollars invested annually in research and create new opportunities for the industry globally.

Capital BlueCross, My Pocket File Team to Offer Mobile, Digital Personal Health Record

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Capital BlueCross and My Pocket File are teaming up to provide Capital BlueCross members with My Pocket File’s secure, mobile, digital Personal Health Record (PHR), the mDoc card™.  This exclusive relationship brings My Pocket File’s offerings to Capital BlueCross members at a discounted rate. Capital BlueCross members can find out more information about this discounted service by going to: https://www.capbluecross.com/Members/My+Pocket+File.htm.

The mDoc card™ also includes an Emergency Medical Form — an unsecured profile that ensures critical medical details (e.g. allergies, medications and emergency contacts) are instantly available to Emergency Medical Staff in a medical crisis.

With the mDoc card™, a User’s personal medical history is in their wallet or purse, with them when they need it.  Time and money are saved as information is easily shared between physicians, duplicate testing is avoided and appointments to review records become unnecessary. mDoc cardholders gain possession and control of individual and family health information while becoming more educated about their personal health.  

The digital PHR, or mDoc card™ is a patent-pending secure, mobile Personal Health Record storage device that is offered in conjunction with a PHR management service.  Unlike existing PHR solutions, My Pocket File’s PHR management service and mDoc card™ serve as a truly unique combination, with service as the cornerstone of the offering.  Additionally, the mDoc device is secure and easily transportable, fitting in a User’s wallet.  

“Simply put, a User has to complete one form, which takes about five minutes and My Pocket File does the rest.  We have streamlined the PHR creation process.  My Pocket File has made getting a digital PHR as easy as making an online purchase — anyone can do it and everyone should,” said Leslie Bucher, Founder of My Pocket File.  

“At Capital BlueCross we constantly strive to improve the health care experience for our members,” said Bill Lehr, Chairman and CEO. “My Pocket File is a partnership that will most certainly provide a service making the often time-consuming process of transferring personal health information a much easier and convenient one.”

While most online and technology-based PHR offerings require an individual to actively obtain, input, organize and maintain their personal health information, My Pocket File executes the complete process of acquiring, digitizing and organizing a User’s entire medical profile. The result, a password-protected device, is delivered to their door.  Because the mDoc card™ is an annual subscription, updates are continually issued and the PHR remains up-to-date and accurate. The card requires minimal technical knowledge of the User and their physicians and is usable in any computer.  

About My Pocket File, LLC

My Pocket File creates custom secure, mobile, document management solutions.  Founded in 2009, the Baltimore-based firm offers patent-pending personal and medical document management products.  Their mission is to provide solutions and services that both streamline and simplify the storage and accessibility of important documents and information for clients.

More information about My Pocket File, its products and services can be found by going to www.mypocketfile.com.

About Capital BlueCross

Capital BlueCross is the leading health insurer in its region, providing health insurance coverage to residents in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Capital BlueCross is committed to making health insurance simple for its customers and members through all the stages of life by offering nationally acclaimed customer service and a full range of innovative benefit programs for groups and individuals at competitive prices.

By establishing a culture of caring, Capital BlueCross constantly strives to do more in order to deliver more for the men, women and children who depend on the company for their health insurance needs. Capital BlueCross has been providing health security to the people and communities of central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley for more than 70 years and employs about 2,000 people in the region.

Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

More information about Capital BlueCross and its subsidiaries can be found by going to www.capbluecross.com.  

SOURCE Capital BlueCross

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City Has an App for That!

Kansas City, MO (January 13, 2011) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is making it easier for its customers to find a doctor or medical office on the fly with its new iPhone app. This innovative app – Provider Look Up – will help Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City customers quickly and easily locate any provider or facility, including urgent care facilities, in the Blue KC network from their iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The app leverages a customer’s location to help them find a doctor that is close by, and tells them if he or she is accepting new patients – real-time information at their fingertips. 

“We’re very excited about our new iPhone app,” said David Gentile, President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. “This app marks just one of many upcoming initiatives we have in the works to help us better serve our customers by offering convenience and information at their fingertips. Our goal is to be there for our customers when they need us, and this app extends that reach further than ever before.”

Kevin Sparks, Group Executive for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, continued, “We’re working on a comprehensive mobile strategy that will ultimately optimize key elements of our website, making it even easier for our customers and customers-to-be to get the information they need, when they need it.”

The new Provider Look Up is free, and rates from your wireless service provider do apply. Provider Look Up, which can be downloaded from the App Store, is the first of several technological innovations Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City will launch.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the state and the only not-for-profit health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage to nearly one million residents in the greater Kansas City area and Northwest Missouri. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

MedMarketLink Partners With Intuit Health for Website Patient Portals

DENVER, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ — Vanguard Communications, the company offering MedMarketLink – an integrated suite of marketing and technology services for specialty medical practices – announced today a partnership with Intuit Health to provide Internet-based portals for health care consumers to go to doctors’ websites and directly request appointments, fill out new-patient forms, pay bills, refill prescriptions and check lab results, among other patient-doctor conveniences.

Vanguard – whose MedMarketLink program has delivered tens of thousands of new patients since 1999 to specialists in fertility and in vitro fertilization (IVF), neurosurgery, urology, and oncology, among others – selected Intuit Health as a portal partner due to its unique breadth of software interfaces.

“Medical software companies capture medical practices as data captives,” Vanguard CEO Ron King said. “Building bridges between these proprietary systems is quite tricky. Our research found other portal developers had managed to negotiate access to a grand total of two medical database systems at most.”

In contrast, King noted, Intuit Health – whose parent company sells TurboTax, Quicken and QuickBooks software – has negotiated access to more than 40 providers of practice-management software and electronic medical records (EMR). As a result, the Intuit portals can work with dozens of practice-management and EMR systems from Centricity to Misys to meridianEMR to TSI Healthcare.

Today more than 2.8 million patients and 400,000 health providers use Intuit portals in medical practice websites. (Practices that implement portals may qualify for the $44,000-per-physician reimbursement funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.)

“This is a proven turnkey product,” King said. “We’ve seen medical groups spend years and sometimes millions of dollars to roll out even the basics of a system. However, we can integrate the Intuit portals into our clients’ websites for availability to patients almost overnight.”

The Intuit portals are the latest addition to a sophisticated package of marketing and technology services in the MedMarketLink program that includes practice public relations, website development and publishing, search-engine optimization (SEO), Internet advertising (pay-per-click), and online and offline practice and physician reputation management.

About MedMarketLink

MedMarketLink uniquely delivers the force of multiple professional disciplines to the growth of private medical practices by merging the art of marketing communications with the science of technology through direct-to-consumer and physician-to-physician marketing and reputation management. For more information http://www.medmarketlink.com/.

About Intuit Health

Intuit Health is the industry leader in communication solutions for patients, providers, and health plans. For more information please visit http://www.medfusion.net or call (877) 599-5123.

SOURCE Vanguard Communications

WellPoint Recognized on the 2010 InformationWeek Top Technology Innovators Across America List

WellPoint, INC, (NYSE: WLP) announced that it made this year’s InformationWeek 500, an annual listing of the nation’s most innovative users of business technology. The 2010 list was revealed at an awards ceremony during the InformationWeek 500 Conference that took place in California.

“WellPoint is pleased to be recognized by InformationWeek as a top technology innovator in America,” said Lori Beer, Chief Information Officer, WellPoint, Inc. “WellPoint is committed to using technology and data to better understand the health and health-behaviors of its members so that we can create programs and products designed that can help improve their health and the quality of their lives.”

InformationWeek identifies and honors the nation’s most innovative users of information technology with its annual 500 listing and also tracks the technology, strategies, investments and administrative practices of America’s best-known companies. The InformationWeek 500 rankings are unique among corporate rankings as it spotlights the power of innovation in information technology, rather than simply identifying the biggest IT spenders.

“For 22 years, the InformationWeek 500 has honored the most innovative users of business technology,” said InformationWeek Editor In Chief Rob Preston. “As we start to emerge from the worst recession in decades, the IT focus is now on driving growth – new sources of revenue, new relationships with customers, even new business models. This year’s ranking placed special emphasis on those companies and business technology executives leading that charge.”

Additional details on the InformationWeek 500 can be found online at www.informationweek.com/iw500/.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint is the nation’s largest health benefits company, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 69 million individuals served through all subsidiaries. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at http://www.wellpoint.com/.