Availity expands patient profile

Availity, provider of EDI (electronic data interchange) clearinghouse and health information exchange services, will expand its Availity Care Profile in the first half of 2009 on a region by region rollout.

Interest is growing for the profile because of its ability to aggregate data from payer-based health records, electronic medical record systems and patients' personal health records, or PHRs, said CTO Jon McBride.

Availity is responding to a request for information from the state of Florida, which is interested in this type of functionality, he said.

The profile, piloted in May 2006, is available in Florida and Texas, which has more than 16,000 provider sites.

Availity, formed as a joint venture by Humana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and the Health Care Service Corp., will also conduct independent ROI studies in the first half of 2009, he said.

The profile's integration of Initiate Systems' record locator service, or RLS, and Enterprise Master Person Index, or EMPI, will enable accurate patient identification and return of multiple data sources.

McBride pointed out the importance of connecting and synchronizing data streams from payer-, provider- and patient-based records.

One of the goals of PHRs is to get clinicians to use them, said Lorraine Fernandes, vice president and healthcare industry ambassador for Initiate Systems.

"The healthcare industry is seeing the value of PHRs, particularly when you build a PHR that's getting data from many sources," she said.

In addition, the federated  approach, in which participating entities' data reside in their own databases and are not housed in a central repository, fosters trust among stakeholders, particularly providers, she said. "Providers are willing to trust the data because it hasn't been filtered," she said.

RLS and EMPI provide high value in managing relationships, Fernandes said.

"Identity resolution is the first and foremost priority for safe and effective clinical care," said Ray Wang, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

EMPI systems and RLS technology provide the necessary data matching and comprehensive patient view, respectively, for that care, he said

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