PHRs make inroads with health plans

Tools

Just as FierceHealthIT editor Anne Zieger predicted in her Editor's Corner last week, health plans are fast becoming where the action is in personal health records. (She's on assignment this week, so we can play this up.) At last week's annual meeting of America's Health Insurance Plans in San Francisco, MEDecision, viewed by many as the originator of the payer-based PHR, agreed to be acquired by one of its largest clients, Health Care Service Corp. 

Chicago-based HCSC, operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, will pay $121 million in cash for MEDecision, headquartered in Wayne, PA. The deal thrusts HCSC into competition with Aetna, which owns a payer-side PHR company of its own, ActiveHealth. 

Meanwhile, also at the AHIP Institute, Health Language Inc. introduced a new tool to help translate medical terminology and billing codes into plain English to help consumers not only understand their explanations of benefits, but also to read payer-supplied PHRs. 

To learn more:
- read this Healthcare IT News story
- see the Health Language press release

ALSO:
- Consumers need to learn the risks of putting their health records online. Commentary