Oscar Health, the $2.7 billion health-insurance startup, is joining the ranks of businesses trying to pull healthcare data into a single platform that might be accessible to doctors treating a patient. Electronic health records allow doctors to get some information about your medical history. But they don’t get it all — like information from an emergency room visit in another state, or notes from telemedicine appointments.
Some of that data can be important, but it’s not easy to gather. As an insurer, Oscar is in a place to pull that information together, because it manages health insurance claims. That puts all of a patient’s medical history in one place, no matter the source, Oscar’s chief technology officer Alan Warren told Business Insider. Oscar isn’t the only one to build one of these platforms. Google Health had a product that tried to do this, and Health IT giant Epic Systems operates a service called MY
Chart that helps patients see their information and communicate with doctors. There are also services that will store your personal health information though these are mainly managed by patients instead of doctors. Warren, who joined the startup in 2016, previously worked at Google and led the engineering team for the Health product there. Google Health had built a personal health information service, but the project was shut down in 2011.
Here’s how it works
If you’re an Oscar member (which, in 2017, Oscar had about 105,000 people enroll in its health plans), your doctor will have access to the Clinical Dashboard.
The dashboard pulls from Oscar’s claims records and other data that Oscar collects about the patients’ medical history to give the doctor more context on a person’s health than what they might learn with their electronic health record alone. From there, Oscar plans to use machine learning to pull up the most relevant information out of all those records. Plus, because this is attached to an insurer, the doctor will also get to look in and see how much a particular treatment might cost the patien
This is just the first phase, Warren said. For now, the team will be making sure the information that makes its way in front of the doctor is actually useful, especially in cases where patients have a complex medical history. And there will be some data that won’t be available. Any information that needs explicit consent before sharing, such as genetic information, won’t be bundled into the dashboard.
To start, the Clinical Dashboard will only be available to Oscar’s team of virtual doctors and those at the Oscar Center in Brooklyn. Eventually, the hope is to roll it out to all of Oscar’s in-network providers.
It’s your health. So it’s time you took control of all the information about it.
That’s the message that a growing number of patient advocates are trying to spread to American health-care consumers.
For most people, of course, it’s all too easy to simply leave their health records in the hands of doctors and hospitals. But that’s a big mistake, the advocates argue. First, it gives doctors too much power over information that is vital to patients, and it creates opportunities for errors. Perhaps more important, it keeps patients from using the information themselves for their own benefit.
“For consumers to start requesting and using their health information will be a game-changer for the health-care system,” says Christine Bechtel, a consultant for the National Partnership for Women and Families who spearheads the Get My Health Data campaign to get patients to ask doctors for their records. “Once we unlock the data, there’s an enormous amount we can do with it.”
Indeed, taking charge of your own records helps circumvent “data lock”—where one doctor’s records system can’t talk with another’s, or when hospitals make a stink about transferring files to competing providers. By obtaining their records, you can serve as your own data hub and give out information when you are consulting specialists, seeking second opinions or shopping for less expensive care.
Find out if your doctor, hospital, drug store, lab, or health insurance company offers Blue Button. Although Blue Button is in its early stages, it is expanding rapidly.
If your doctor does not participate in Blue Button you can simply ask for access to your health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule gives you, with few exceptions, the right to inspect, review, and receive a copy of your medical records and billing records that are held by health plans and health care providers covered by the Privacy Rule.
A provider cannot deny you a copy of your records because you have not paid for the services you have received. If you request an electronic copy of protected health information, a covered entity is required to provide you with such electronic copy to the extent it is readily producible. Covered entities are permitted to charge reasonable, cost-based fees that cover the cost of copying (including supplies and labor) to provide you with a copy of your protected hea