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8/17/2009
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Vanguard Health Joins Dossia Consortium

The company, which operates 15 hospitals in four states, will offer its 19,000 employees electronic personal health records.

Dossia, a consortium of several large employers including Intel and Wal-Mart aiming to provide personal e-health records to their workers, has added Vanguard Health System to its group of founding members.

Vanguard Health System, which operates 15 hospitals in four states, as well as three managed care health plans, is the 10th employer to join Dossia since the consortium was the launched in December 2006.

Besides Intel and Wal-Mart, other Dossia founding members include Applied Materials, AT&T, BP America, Cardinal Health, Pitney Bowes, sanofi-aventis, and biotechnology firm Abrixis BioScience, which joined the consortium in April. Each founding member pays $1.5 million to join Dossia, plus per-employee fees related to the production costs associated with the personal health records, said Dossia CEO Colin Evans.

Vanguard is a particularly welcome new Dossia member because Vanguard is a not only an employer of 19,000, but also a provider of the healthcare, said Evans.

While it's Vanguard's goal to first offer Dossia's secure web-based personal health records to its employees, the Dossia relationship is "also a partnership for the future," with Vanguard possibly utilizing Dossia's infrastructure to provide e-personal health records to others, such as its patients or health plan members, said Evans.

So far, among Dossia's founding members, Wal-Mart has had the biggest deployment of Dossia personal e-health records. Last fall, Wal-Mart became the first consortium member to offer Dossia e-health records to its employees in volume.

Right now, other consortium members are in "various stages" of rolling out the e-health records to their employees, said Evans. A number of large health plans, pharmacies and other companies are providing the various patient data that populates the e-personal health records. Another 20 or so health-related companies that have relationships with Dossia consortium members will also join those ranks soon in providing data, he says

Wal-Mart is offering the e-personal health records to employees as a voluntary benefit. While Evans won't disclose exactly how many Dossia member employees have signed on to use the records, he says users tally "in tens of thousands" so far, with Wal-Mart having the largest number.

"Wal-Mart is an anchor tenant, if you will," said Evans. During the time Wal-Mart's been offering the e-PHRs to employees, Dossia's technical team has "added a large number of capabilities," to the system, he said. That includes the ability for employees to manage the e-personal health records of their dependents, as well as Dossia rolling out a new programming interface to make it easier for third party developers to create functionality and data feeds to the effort.


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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