UnitedHealth to launch portable health records next year

Healthcare insurance giant UnitedHealth Group plans to launch an integrated and portable individual health record for its 50 million fully benefited members—as well as providers—by the end of 2019.

“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,” UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann told analysts during Tuesday’s conference call reporting third quarter results.

The new service offering will leverage Rally, the company’s personalized and interactive health and wellness platform that currently has more than 20 million registered users, which gives them a suite of online and mobile solutions to help them manage their healthcare needs.

According to Wichmann, UnitedHealth will use Rally’s “chassis” to give consumers a tool that not only outlines their individual health record but also “assesses to what extent that they've been—and how they've been—served by the health system broadly, and whether or not there’s been any gaps in care.”

In addition, he told analysts that the company plans to offer a similar data capability to healthcare providers, “but in a format that looks a little bit more like their EHR.” Wichmann emphasized that the information “would be provided to the physician in the workflow of the physician’s office.” The ultimate goals are to drive better health outcomes, ensure the highest level of care quality as defined by evidence-based practices and contain costs.

Rally is the consumer digital health platform of Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled services and is part of UnitedHealth, while the company’s other line of business is UnitedHealthcare, which provides healthcare coverage and benefits services.

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UnitedHealth Group Inc. headquarters stands in Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S., on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Photographer: Mike Bradley

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“Rally is synthesizing information and engaging people to better manage their health, helping consumers save money by selecting the highest quality care providers, understanding their out-of-pocket costs upfront and, in some markets, even scheduling appointments for care,” Wichmann added.

He noted that UnitedHealth is a data-driven company that has three core competencies: information, technology and clinical insights across its businesses.

“We organize and align data—both clinical and administrative—around the healthcare consumer, using proprietary tools and technologies that evaluate data and care patterns against evidence-based guidelines,” Wichmann said. “Comparing highly personalized data and best-known science, we offer next-best action for consumers, while providing them full transparency into the quality and costs of services offered by their local health systems.”

When it comes to care delivery, he touted the importance of data analytics to “get patients to the best doctors, care pathways and sites of service for particular conditions, and to inform development of value-based care arrangements for our employed and affiliated care providers.”

The key, Wichmann pointed out, is information “powering modern product designs to fortify performance networks, tools and incentive programs to advance quality and engagement, and approving appropriate consumer access, while reducing the cost of healthcare.”

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