Verizon offers employees new web-based PHR

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Verizon has implemented a new program that provides company employees with secure access online to their medical and prescription history via a personal health record which can be shared with healthcare providers.

"Information technology has revolutionized the way we live and could add great value to the delivery of healthcare in this country. The healthcare industry has been on the cutting edge of technology on the research and development side, but not on the administrative side,” said Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg, during a recent roundtable discussion on the shift toward a value-driven care system promoted by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Electronic medical records will radically change the dynamics of our healthcare system by providing the information needed to empower the patient. This is the first step toward an interoperable system that will seamlessly connect all pieces of the healthcare puzzle – patients, clinicians, pharmacies, labs, hospitals and others," added Seidenberg.

The program is being first offered to nearly 40,000 Verizon employees last month, but the company will expand the effort in the future. The new tools are provided by health IT vendor WebMD as an enhancement to HealthZone, an online health portal the company launched in 2006 that offers personalized tools and resources to help users understand their current health status and to help them make better health-related decisions.

Verizon's new tool also works independent of an employee's health plan and is completely portable, even if the employee retires or leaves the company.