Two Calif. Blues plans to launch info exchange
California’s two Blues insurers are committing $80 million to launch a new health information exchange, which they hope will initially attract more than 30 of the state’s largest healthcare provider organizations.
The not-for-profit California Integrated Data Exchange, known as Cal INDEX, was started last week by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California. Proponents say they hope to provide online access to the records of 9 million people using insurance claims and clinical records.
After Cal INDEX’s first three years, providers will be expected to pay subscription fees to fund its continued operations. It will be open to all healthcare data contributors, organizers said.
Securing long-term funding has been a stumbling block for many HIEs, which have drawn on $564 million in federal stimulus funding. “We hope that physicians, nurses, hospitals, regional HIEs, health systems and accountable care organizations will … join us and improve the health of Cali- fornians,” said Paul Markovich, CEO of Blue Shield of California.
California has seen several HIEs fizzle in the past. The new exchange raises hopes that interoperability across California may finally be at hand.
“The question is, what will providers think?” said Dr. David Brailer, the first chief of the federal health IT office. “California is a provider-powerful state.”