As the federal government continues to push EHR adoption, many commercial payers are also testing the water, and finding it to be pretty comfortable. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) just announced the results of a three-year pilot program designed to increase the use of EHRs and improve health care delivery.
The BCBSRI pilot program provided partial funding to 79 primary care physicians in Rhode Island toward the purchase of an EHR system, as well as monthly stipends for the first and second years of the program to help cover the costs of EHR implementation.
Results of the program include lower monthly health care costs per member than those receiving care at non-participating practices, improved health care quality and successful EHR implementations for 79 Rhode Island physicians.
“What’s really exciting is that these pilot results are a good predictor of the types of improvement in health care quality and cost that we expect to see once our patient-centered medical homes are more established,” said Dr. Gus Manocchia, senior vice president and chief medical officer at BCBSRI in a press release.
Other payers are investing in mHealth and telemedicine as a means to improve quality of care and reduce costs. In February 2011, Aetna announced 24/7 access to telehealth services for its members in Florida and Texas. Another large payer, UnitedHealth Group, invested in mHealth by releasing a mobile application called “OptumizeMe,” designed to encourage healthy living through the use of social media.
It would be great if more payers hopped on board the EHR adoption train, as many providers still struggle to find the means to implement EHR systems.