Blues plan to help overhaul U.S. healthcare with healthcare IT

With the new Obama administration on its way in, Blue Cross Blue Shield of America, one of the largest healthcare payers in the nation, is planning to help make a mark on reform.

At the e-Health Initiative's Fifth Annual Conference, Scott Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA said, "Now is the time to forge a better healthcare system for the future. The problem with U.S. reform so far has been lack of vision."

Serota, a member of the initial American Health Information Community Consumer Empowerment Workgroup, and a strong advocate for change, yesterday unveiled BCBSA's five-point plan for reform that will require healthcare IT as a foundation.

"Healthcare IT will be the super highway and the cornerstone for change," Serota said.

BCBS contends that President-elect Obama's plan to build reform on an employer-based system is a good one. The company proposes five initiatives for reform, including:

  • Encouraging research on the procedures, drugs and devices that work best
  • Paying for performance
  • Empowering consumers and providers
  • Promoting health awareness
  • Fostering public-private coverage solutions.

According to Serota, the Blues are comprised of 39 independent health plans serving some 102 million members nationwide. Ninety percent of all U.S. hospitals and 80 percent of all U.S. physicians participate in Blue Cross Blue Shield. By sheer volume, the Blues' reform plans will have an impact.

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