The largest commercial healthcare insurer is dropping a few more hints on its plans to launch a widespread electronic health record.
In October, UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest commercial health insurer, announced it was 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.
Now, UnitedHealth is dropping a few more details, although the carrier has yet to announce its full-scale plan. Speaking in New York last week at UnitedHealth’s annual investor conference, CEO David Wichmann told analysts the company expects to create as many as 50 million records for its forthcoming electronic information record in the U.S. and Latin America, although it didn’t give out the breakdown on the user base between providers, plan members and other outside organizations such as accountable care organizations, or a healthcare organization that ties payments to quality metrics and the cost of care. The company also says it expects to have more than 1 million providers also using its electronic health records system by the end of next year.
“We provide each individual and their doctor or caregiver with a fully integrated, fully portable, real-time and dynamic medical record powered by a proprietary medical ontology and best-known science,” he told analysts. “The information health record (IHR) not only shows doctors and patients where they have been and where they are but can suggest a path forward in their journey to better health.”
UnitedHealth so far has three unidentified accountable care organizations using its electronic information record system, but the prototype technology is being developed by CentriHealth, a healthcare information technology based in Nashville, Tenn.
Today, more than 90% of all U.S. hospitals now have an electronic health records system, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But most of those systems are purchased by hospitals and health systems from a slew of commercial electronic health records vendors dominated by Epic Systems Corp. and Cerner Corp. and they typically aren’t open to access to other providers, payers and related organizations.
Without providing detail on how it will achieve connecting with other healthcare organizations and their proprietary electronic health records system, UnitedHealth says its health information record system will be open and online and able to connect with disparate systems, Steve Nelson, CEO of chief UnitedHealthcare, a $180 billion division of UnitedHealth Group told analysts.
“A traditional electronic health record focuses largely on streamlining internal business processes for facilities and medical groups,” he told analysts. “The individual health record (IHM) connects numerous electronic medical records systems (EMRs), creating a unified and secured source of truth for both consumers and care providers, and unlocking the value of data that is currently trapped in today’s fragmented health system.”
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