Dossia gains momentum toward providing employees with personal, private, portable and secure health
Major U.S. employer group adds new founders, collaborators for building dossia infrastructure
September 17, 2007
Dossia, a non-profit consortium of large employers, announced today two new founding members and a healthcare advisor and technology collaborator, updating its progress toward the development of private, personal, portable and secure health records for its employees, their dependents and retirees.
Dossia was established by major U.S. employers Applied Materials, BP America, Inc., Cardinal Health, Intel Corporation, Pitney Bowes Inc. and Wal-Mart, to create a web-based system that will enable employees to gain access to their own personal health data, which is now largely inaccessible to them. Dossia will use a web-based infrastructure to empower individuals to manage their own health care, improve communications with their doctors, and provide more complete and accurate information for health care providers than the current system, which continues to be fragmented and still partially paper-based.
Dossia announced the addition of two new founding members, AT&T and sanofi-aventis, bringing the total number of employees, their dependents and retirees, who will receive access to this benefit, to more than 5 million. Dossia plans to roll out this benefit to a group of early adopter founder company employees in late 2007.
Dossia also announced a new collaboration with Children's Hospital Boston (Children's) to provide strategic and technological expertise and guidance in creating, deploying and operating the Dossia infrastructure. For more than a decade, researchers in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP), based at Children's Hospital Boston and affiliated with Harvard Medical School and with the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, have been leaders in pioneering and promoting personal control of health information as a key to improving consumer health management and outcomes and in developing rigorous, privacy-protective methods of ensuring patient control over their own medical information.
CHIP researchers developed Indivo, the first personally-controlled health record (www.indivohealth.org), through grants from the National Library of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Indivo enables patients to integrate their health information across sites of care and over their life time, and to selectively share that data with health care providers and family members. The Indivo system is currently being used nationally and internationally, and will be a key part of Children's own information portal for its patients.
"Since the inception of the Indivo system in 1998, we have firmly held that the best way to get vital and private medical information to the point of care is under the strictest control of the individual," said Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, a CHIP researcher and physician in Emergency Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston. "Dossia and Children's share a common vision of promoting widespread adoption of personally controlled health records and are excited to be working together to make this vision a reality."
Children's will collaborate with Dossia to adapt a version of the existing, open source Indivo system to provide secure, portable, personally controlled health records for employees, dependents and retirees of Dossia's founding companies.
"The founding companies formed Dossia because we believe it will help make the health care system more efficient and effective - reducing medical errors, eliminating waste and reducing costs to health care providers and to employers who provide health benefits to employees," said Michael J. Critelli, Chairman, Dossia and Executive Chairman, Pitney Bowes. "The support and resources of the large employers that comprise Dossia, coupled with the best and brightest research minds from Children's Hospital Boston, present a unique opportunity to move this ambitious, first-of-its-kind project forward."
"Giving individuals and families control of their health information is a critical step in helping people protect their health," said Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Dossia and its collaborators at Children's Hospital Boston are poised to make the vision of a secure and easy-to-use electronic personal health record a practical and sustainable reality."
Based on the Indivo system, and with the individual's consent, the Dossia framework will gather health information from various sources and store it within secured databases. Dossia's use of the Indivo open architecture will support multiple personal health applications, allowing users to organize and summarize their information in ways that are most useful to them. Health records will be secure and private, accessible only by the individual or by others to whom the individual has granted permission. Records also will be portable, enabling individuals to continue using the records even if they change employers, health plans or doctors. Participation by employees will be voluntary.
In addition to new founders and collaborators to help build the infrastructure, Dossia has formed a full-time leadership team with loaned executives from several founders who will now lead strategy, project development and deployment. Colin Evans of Intel serves as president of Dossia. Other Dossia leaders include: Bob Hartley of Applied Materials; Carolyn Walton of Wal-Mart; Tom Foth of Pitney Bowes; and Dave Hammond of Cardinal Health. For more information on Dossia, please visit: www.dossia.org.
Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH