To improve efficiency and effectiveness, the partnership will be “enabled by such things as a common electronic medical records system, shared care management systems, joint wellness resources” and other efficiencies, according to a media statement.
Pam Kehaly, Anthem's west region president, said that by working together, the partners will “find ways to become more efficient.” She gave a hypothetical example of a patient coming into an emergency department after stepping on a nail. The patient couldn't recall precisely when he had his last tetanus shot, so as a precaution, he was given one in the ED.
“Can you imagine the power of having all these systems working together sharing data?” to avoid the second and unnecessary tetanus shot, Kehaly asked.
But for now, the seven systems have disparate EHRs from Epic Systems Corp. and Cerner Corp., said MemorialCare CEO Barry Arbuckle, and they may explore creating their own private health information exchanges.
In the interim, Anthem will share its existing claims and limited clinical data collections—such as labs—with its provider partners, and will supply data analytics as well, according to Kehaly.
“At Anthem, we do have an infrastructure that allows us to produce actionable data to support medical treatment,” Kehaly said. “So we will be pushing that data out to our partners.”
Kehaly also mentioned Cal INDEX, a proposed statewide health information exchange and data collaborative announced last month by Anthem and Blue Shield of California. The two insurers have committed a combined $80 million to get the exchange off the ground.
“The goal of that program is to collect data from all of the insurance companies and providers, so we are in the future hoping there is an opportunity for us to tap into that,” Kehaly said.
Integrated delivery systems were often mentioned during an Anthem press conference as an example of what the seven systems and the health plan sought to emulate with the collaborative. Kaiser Permanente, the biggest integrated system in the state, also was mentioned frequently. Kaiser is already on a single EHR, adding the last of its divisions last year to its Care Everywhere health information exchange.
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn
Bob Herman contributed to this story.