Feeds

Blue Shield teams up with RelayHealth

Online patient care

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

The Blue Shield of California pilot program with RelayHealth is on track to sign up more than 1,000 California physicians in 2004 for reimbursed online communication with patients. As the number of medical groups involved in such services expands, the market for reimbursed online patient-physician communication will similarly grow.

Blue Shield's pilot program in California was started in October 2003 and is one of the largest such programs in the US. It was the first to specifically target HMO (health maintenance organization), as opposed to PPO (preferred-provider plan), populations.

According to the company, tens of thousands of Blue Shield enrollees are patients of the physicians who have enrolled in the voluntary program. In the program, patients answer a set of online questions that uses a software-driven logic tree to provide physicians with usable clinical information. The software also verifies the eligibility of both the patient and the physician. Patients typically pay a co-payment of $5 or $10 per session, while total reimbursement to a physician for each online interchange is usually $25 to $30, somewhat less than a typical office visit.

In addition to Blue Shield, other major California health plans are looking to provide reimbursed online patient-physician communication programs. Blue Cross of California and another major insurer are in negotiations with RelayHealth, a California-based provider of secure online healthcare communication services linking patients, healthcare professionals, payors and pharmacies. There is speculation that Health Net is the third large California health plan that has agreed to reimburse online patient-physician communications, and that it plans to implement the RelayHealth technology in July 2004.

It appears that more healthcare insurers are recognising the value of programs connecting patients and physicians online. Such programs are gaining momentum in California and nationwide, despite the initial reluctance of many physicians who were concerned about not receiving sufficient compensation for participation in online communication with patients. In addition to providing reimbursement for physicians, RelayHealth also offers other clinical and practice management services, such as scheduling appointments, refilling prescriptions, obtaining lab results, updating patient information, collecting co-payments and submitting claims.

The provision of an online patient-physician communication service may allow pharmaceutical companies to strengthen relationships with physicians and to raise company profiles among consumers. However, the challenge for pharmaceutical companies lies in finding a place within this market given the growing involvement of the insurance provider sector.

Source: Datamonitor

Related stories

NHS: improvements online
Doctors forced to use Hotmail for confidential medical records
Colon cleansing spam on the rise

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.