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Vanguard Rolls Out Dossia PHRs To Employees

The hospital operator plans to offer Dossia Web-based personal health records to all 23,000 of its employees by year end.

Vanguard Health Systems, a founding member of the Dossia consortium, has begun rolling out Dossia electronic personal health records to its employees in a big way -- and plans to add some bells and whistles of its own soon.

Vanguard, which operates 15 acute care hospitals in four regions of the U.S., has rolled the Dossia PHRs to a test group of about 250 employees, and expects to offer the web-based digitized health records to all 23,000 employees and their dependents by year end, said Brad Perkins, Vanguard executive VP of strategy and chief transformation officer.

In the future, the healthcare provider also plans to offer Dossia e-personal health records to its patients, Perkins said.

The hospital operator is working on having patient data from its various clinical systems automatically populate the Dossia PHRs. For now, Vanguard employees using Dossia PHRs are having their records automatically populated with data from health claims, as well as from prescription data from Wal-Mart and Sam's Club pharmacies.

In late 2008, Wal-Mart became the first Dossia member to begin offering the PHRs to tens of thousands of its employees, and so data connections from Wal-Mart and Sam's Club pharmacy systems to Dossia have already been made. That also allows other Dossia members such as Vanguard to also have their employees' PHRs updated with Wal-Mart pharmacy data, said Dossia CEO Colin Evans.

Soon, Vanguard also plans to offer some perks to its Dossia users, said Perkins.

In addition to the Dossia PHRs, Vanguard will offer its Dossia users "concierge" or "coach" services. Those services would involve Dossia PHR users providing consent to Vanguard concierge staff who would assist the individual in navigating healthcare issues, including spending and finances, and treatment and care decisions.

For instance, the concierge could help Dossia users find out-of-network specialists, understand their co-pays and deductibles, or explain instructions that were provided to them by their clinicians.

Vanguard found a need for these kinds of services when it was working with its group of early Dossia users -- who are employees of the healthcare provider. They often needed help not with using the PHR itself, but rather navigating through the healthcare delivery system, Perkins said.

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