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Forget The Chart, Check The Cell Phone

Insurer will let members access their health data from cell phones

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

January 27, 2007

2 Min Read

As better networks and handhelds allow more data to be sent by mobile devices, the key question will be: What data do you really want on the go?

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is betting you'll want your health data, especially if you're getting emergency treatment while traveling.

Starting at the end of March, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania plans to provide 100,000 of its members--and later all 600,000--electronic access to their and their dependents' personal health records. The information, which includes recent diagnoses, prescribed medications, and immunizations, will be culled from the insurer's claims data and information that members provide.

It's not a complete record, but it will have relevant diagnoses and drug information, which members can share with doctors or others, says Dr. Drew Palin, chief development officer at Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Members will be able to access their information from cell phones, as well as PDAs and PCs. They also will be able to use the system to confirm eligibility and coverage for health care services at the time they're treated.

Mobile medical data fills a need

Mobile medical data fills a need

The data is revealed from text menus, such as a list of recent drugs prescribed, and formatted to fit on a cell phone screen. For secure wireless access to that data, the insurer has licensed Diversinet's MobiSecure Wallet and MobiSecure Vault soft-token, wireless authentication products.

When a member uses a cell phone to access his or her data, the Diversinet software displays a one-time-use password. A new password is created each time the mobile member uses the health record system. The password can be used to access the health information via the cell phone or a computer, such as in a physician's office.

Other insurers have begun offering their mem-bers online personal health records, but officials at Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania say it will be the first to do so by cell phone.

A lot of companies will find themselves pushing data out to mobile devices just because they can, until they figure out what customers want on the go. Some form of mobile medical data is sure to make the cut.

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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