America's Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Health Level 7 have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a collaborative process for maintaining portability standards of personal health records.
Already, a number of stakeholders are involved in this effort to develop standards to help facilitate portability among health insurers to allow plan members to take their health data with them when their coverage changes.
The memorandum brings two of the most influential payer associations into the planning process. "We applaud AHIP and BCBSA for investing in the early development efforts of the PHR data-portability standards, and for entrusting HL7 to maintain the standards," said Charles Jaffe, president and chief executive officer of HL7, in a news release.
HL7, Ann Arbor, Mich., is a not-for-profit standards development group with 2,300 members representing 90% of information systems vendors serving healthcare. In 2005, HL7 formed a working group to develop guidelines to facilitate health information exchange among different PHR systems. In early 2008, HL7 intends to publish draft standards for trial use to allow the industry to work with stable standards for up to two years while they are being refined.
"BCBSA believes the increased use of personal health records will allow consumers to play a greater role in their own healthcare and ultimately improve health outcomes," said Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blues association, in a written statement. -- by Rebecca Vesely