Washington, D.C. - Health insurance plans' cutting-edge information technology (IT) strategies are adding value to health care for employers, health care practitioners and most importantly, consumers, industry leaders said today on Capitol Hill.Participants in the briefing stressed that health insurance plans are using IT not only to process claims more efficiently, but also to promote evidence-based care, add value to health care services and empower consumers through access to better information and decision tools.

Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said that the use of IT is adding value for consumers with chronic health conditions, creating a seamless, error-free electronic pathway to guide prescriptions from doctor to pharmacist to patient, and allowing health professionals to collaborate over vast distances and communicate with patients electronically. She cited a report released by AHIP, "Innovations in Health Information Technology," which details specific health plan IT advances.

"Health insurance plans are spearheading efforts to improve the value of health care services and are delivering tangible solutions for consumers and physicians through an array of health IT advances," said Ignagni. "Health insurance plans are investing in health IT because they recognize the improvements that can be achieved in promoting effective and quality health care."

Ms. Ignagni introduced three industry leaders whose organizations are making significant contributions in the health IT field:

  • Vicky Gregg, president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, spoke about Community Connection, an innovative program that has assisted Medicaid beneficiaries by promoting care coordination. The program creates a patient-centered community health record that allows multiple providers treating the same patient to view that patient's medical information via a secure Web site.
  • Jerry Senne, CEO of Health First Health Plans Inc., discussed the VitalWatch system, an electronic intensive care unit that is helping save lives in the three Florida hospitals where it has been implemented.
  • Dr. Reed Tuckson, Senior Vice President of Consumer Health and Medical Care Advancement at UnitedHealth Group, discussed his company's user-friendly consumer Web site and its initiative to provide personal health records to members throughout the country.

The report, "Innovations in Health Information Technology," is available at http://www.ahipresearch.org/pdfs/AHIP_InvHealthIT_05.pdf .

Source: America's Health Insurance Plans

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