Blue Cross Blue Shield Association signs on for data sharing
Health insurers are joining the ranks of providers and vendors adopting HL7’s emerging Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard for sharing information.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a federation of 36 independent U.S. health insurance companies providing coverage to more than 100 million Americans, has selected IT vendor Edifecs to support the rapid deployment of FHIR data standards by BCBSA’s members.
“As we seek to drive more coordinated, higher quality and affordable healthcare across the country, FHIR adoption is a key component for BCBS companies,” says David Corso, executive director of PlanConnexion at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “Many BCBS companies are shifting toward value-based models that put patients at the center of care. FHIR standards advance interoperability of both clinical and financial data, and help BCBS companies to turn this data into actionable intelligence to enhance the customer experience.”
BCBS companies will be offered the Edifecs XEngine Server Module for FHIR, which includes out-of-the-box use cases to test with BCBSA while eliminating the need for custom interfaces. In addition, BCBSA has created a “sandbox” testing environment with the Edifecs XEngine Server Module for FHIR, enabling the health insurer group to explore multiple use cases to support and drive adoption of FHIR-based services.
By leveraging RESTful application programming interfaces, the latest web standards that are the basis of Google and Twitter, FHIR has tremendous potential to serve as the core functionality to support data access in healthcare enabling health information exchange.
“Implementing FHIR standards will help bridge connections, increase partnerships, improve outcomes and reduce costs for BCBS companies and their information trading partners,” says Sunny Singh, president and CEO of Edifecs. “We believe FHIR is the future of interoperability, as it enables data from multiple sources to come together as actionable intelligence and truly enhances the customer experience.”
“This effort represents a natural evolution of the Da Vinci Project, an initiative enabled by HL7 FHIR, and supported by the community of payers, including CMS, providers—includIng large health systems—and leading healthcare IT developers including Epic and Cerner,” says Chuck Jaffe, MD, HL7’s CEO. “The promise of the Da Vinci Project is to transform our care delivery system to a real-world model of value-based care. HL7 FHIR is the engine that drives the seamless exchange of data.”
Micky Tripathi, manager of the Argonaut Project, a collaboration of health IT vendors and providers seeking to accelerate the adoption of FHIR, says it is exciting to see health insurers and other parts of the healthcare ecosystem adopt the standard.
“This will hopefully bridge the historic divide between the approaches used by payers and providers,” adds Tripathi. “My fervent hope is that FHIR-based approaches will open up opportunities not only for payers to get better authorized access to clinical data, but equally important, for providers to finally get access to their claims data, which payers make available only sparingly and in very primitive ways today.”