Sunday, June 15, 2008

Massachusetts Insurer Partners With Google on PHR Project

On Thursday, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced that it is partnering with Google Health to allow its members to import their claims data into Google's personal health record tool, the Boston Globe reports.BCBSMA said it is the first insurer to sign on to the PHR program, which it says will help patients manage their medical care (Krasner, Boston Globe, 6/13).Beginning this fall, BCBSMA members could have online access to information on their medications, diagnoses and office visits if they consent to the program and open a Google Health account (Health Data Management, 6/12). However, the level of patients' access to the data also will depend on their health providers' technological capabilities.Steven Fox, a BCBSMA vice president leading the online project, said the partnership could "improve compliance with treatment protocols" (Boston Globe, 6/13).
Privacy Protections
Susan Leahy, spokesperson for the health plan, said, "We do have a confidentiality agreement in place with Google but no business agreement because we are not disclosing (personal health information) to Google for BCBSMA's operations or purposes" (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 6/12).

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