Dossia employer consortium pushes PHRs for employees
The Dossia Founders Group is slowly moving forward with plans to provide their employees with personal health records (PHRs).

The Portland, Ore.-based consortium, is testing aspects of the infrastructure, linking data from insurers, pharmacies and other sources to a central repository, said Colin Evans, president, Dossia, a not-for-profit organization.

In addition to Wal-Mart, consortium members are BP America, Intel, Pitney Bowes, AT&T, Cardinal Health and sanofi-aventis. Each member is providing $1.5 million in startup funds and later will pay annual transaction fees for each employee.

Dossia plans to approach dozens of provider organizations in the cities where most of its members’ employees work to begin building links to their EHRs.

By the third quarter, Dossia plans to move to the next phase, when employers will roll out the full PHR to subsets of their employees, such as those in certain cities, Evans said. The PHRs will be offered to all five million employees, dependents and retirees of sponsoring companies, in phases, starting late this year or early next year, he adds.

The Dossia Founders Group will work with Children's Hospital Boston and other qualified and experienced vendors to develop and implement the Dossia Network infrastructure, Evans added.

“Their motivation is economic,” he said. “Most employers see healthcare costs exploding beyond their ability to control it. We want to get as many employers as possible together to provide the tools to empower employees to become better users of healthcare.”

Employees will be able to designate which providers can see specific data within their PHR. They will not be able to delete any data, but can add comments to it, Evans said. They will also be able to enter information on their conditions.

Dossia is creating a broad platform for central storage of PHR data. The consortium expects to work with various PHR vendors and charge them a fee for transactions through Dossia.

“One reason for the very low adoption of PHRs so far is that nobody wants to enter the data themselves,” Evans contended. “We expect we could easily empower a lot of the PHR applications now available that haven’t gotten very far.”