Four Blues offering free EHR

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plans in four states are integrating the medical data of more than 11 million people into a single electronic health record (EHR) system and will provide patients and physicians free access, according to an article in Computerworld. The Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), which runs Blue Cross and Blue Shield operations in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, has been working for two years to combine the plans' various IT systems that contain patient data into a single system.

The HCSC system uses MeDecision Inc.'s Patient Clinical Summary software, which creates an EHR by gathering patient data from various sources, analyzing the data and applying analytics and rules to identify possible options for treating patients, Joe Taylor, vice president of enterprise business processes of HCSC told attendees at the World Health Care Congress in Washington DC. "We're trying to take this data and empower it with some analytics to provide a more meaningful office visit between the member and their selected physician," Taylor added.

The system could use analytics and rules-based software to, for example, remind a patient and physician that an annual mammogram needs to be scheduled or send an alert when different physicians write prescriptions for medications that can't be used together. The system will also provide physicians with a list of all tests done on a patient, eliminating the need for duplicate tests—one of the most touted benefits of electronic record systems.

The system, called Blue Care Connection, went live in New Mexico and Oklahoma last year and in Illinois earlier this year. It will begin operating in Texas this summer, Taylor said.