August 22, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Commercial Payors Health Information Technology
Two of California's largest health insurers – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are investing a total of $80 million to develop a not-for-profit health information exchange database called Cal INDEX, which is expected to go live in November. It is expected to house the medical records of 9 million patients, about a quarter of California’s population.
The initial $80 million stake will get the exchange through the first three years, the insurers said. After that, they expect funding will come from participating health plans and providers who will be charged a subscription fee.
Thirty large medical groups are expected to help build the database. It will house such information as patient diagnoses, lab tests, physician and hospital visits and procedures.
In a press release, the plans said they hope the exchange will improve quality of care by providing physicians with a unified and integrated source of patient information; and that the portability of patients' information will be seamless between health plans and across various health care professionals and hospitals. Although consumers will not initially be able to access their own data, Anthem and Blue Shield say that functionality will be added at a later date.
While the plans say the exchange will comply with all federal and state privacy laws for medical records, consumer groups have raised concerns about patient privacy. According to the plans, patients will be notified that their information will be placed in the information exchange database and they will be given the opportunity to opt out.