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  • Bruce Japsen

50 Million Patients To Access New Personal Health Record In 2019 : UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group’s launch of an “individual” health record for 50 million consumers in its health plans will be key to future growth of both insurance and provider businesses, the company said Tuesday.

The individual health record, which executives said will be “fully integrated and fully portable,” will be accessed by 1 million medical care providers by the end of 2019, executives said. They say it’s different from traditional electronic medical records, or “EMRs” that are available today.

“A traditional electronic medical record focuses largely on streamlining internal business processes, for facilities and medical groups,” Steve Nelson, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth’s UnitedHealthcare business told analysts and investors Tuesday morning at the company's annual investor day in New York. “But the IHR connects numerous EMRs, creating a unified and secure source of truth for both consumers and care providers, and unlocking the value of data that is currently trapped in today’s fragmented health care system. That means consumers have a much more complete, personal picture of their health needs.”

Like other health plans, UnitedHealth is aggressively moving medical care providers it contracts with to value-based contracts that pay doctors and hospitals on the quality of care they deliver to patients. That is different than fee-for-service medicine that pays for each and every procedure and is based on volume of medical care delivered.

On Tuesday, UnitedHealth said it now ties 60% of its payments, or $72 billion, to value-based measures and health outcomes . “Five years ago, just 40 percent of our $28 billion in value-based payments to physicians and hospitals contained these progressive features,” Nelson said.

Thus, the individual health record makes collaboration and connection between medical care providers and UnitedHealth even more important as these value-based models proliferate and health outcomes for its health plan members are measured.

“Accessed through Rally, the IHR makes collaboration with an individual’s care team more informed, and management of one’s own health care journey simpler,” Nelson said. “It also empowers care providers with connected, credible information at the point of care by enabling them to see a patient’s interactions with other clinicians. We believe the IHR will become a valuable workflow tool that helps health care professionals deliver excellent care.”

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