UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest commercial health insurer, is getting into an area of digital healthcare that’s normally been provider-only.
Namely, UnitedHealth by next February will develop technology on its Rally mobile health platform and give some, or all, of its more than 41 million plan members access to an electronic health records system.
Key details of the planned electronic health records system and precisely why UnitedHealth is launching a digital records program are sketchy. But CEO Dave Wichmann announced the initiative on the carrier’s third-quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts. “We will soon be releasing at scale, a first-of-kind fully integrated and fully portable individual health record that delivers personalized next-best health actions to people and their caregivers,” Wichmann told analysts based on a transcript from SeekingAlpha.com.
UnitedHealth, which spends more than $2 billion annually by its own measure on information and digitally driven technology, will use its Rally mobile health platform to launch and host the electronic health records system. Rally, managed by Optum, the carrier’s health services business, is a digital health platform featuring a suite of online and mobile that help people manage their health and healthcare needs.
“As outlined in our November 2017 conference, we had the ambition by the end of 2019 to develop individual health records for the 50 million fully benefited members that we serve,” Wichmann told analysts. “We would use the Rally chassis, which as indicated now has 20 million registered users to help provide individuals in a way which they could comprehend a tool, if you will, not only outlining their individual health record but also giving them next-best-action detail.”
A broad goal of the electronic health records system is giving UnitedHealth plan members more access to personal digital medical and payments information. “What I mean by when I say it’s deeply personalized, it’s organized around them not based upon generic criteria,” Wichmann said. “It also assesses to what extent that they’ve missing word? in and how they’ve been served by the health system broadly and whether or not there’s been any gaps in care that have been left behind.”
UnitedHealth has yet to say how it plans to package up individual medical records and if it will overlap with the electronic health records already maintained and accessible through digital portals already provided by most every hospital and health system. “Our visions are also to take that to care providers to provide them with similar information but in a format that looks a little bit more like their EHR,” Wichmann told analysts. “And again, would include next-best action as well. And so that would be provided to the physician and the workflow of the physician’s office.”
The carrier says more detail will be forthcoming in November. “You might imagine what this could ultimately lead to in terms of continuing to develop a transaction flow between the physician and us and the consumer and us being the custodian to try to drive better health outcomes for so we believe it to be pretty transformative across our business,” he said. “It’s something that we’ll update you again here this coming November at our investor conference.”
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