News | December 09, 2007

Health Level Seven Agrees to Collaborate on Portability Standards for PHRs

December 10, 2007 - Health Level Seven Inc. (HL7), America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), recently said they signed a memorandum of understanding to create a collaborative process for the maintenance of portability standards for personal health records (PHR).

This memorandum expands the number of stakeholders involved in the standards development process to help facilitate data portability between health insurance plans to give plan members the ability to move their personal health data when their health coverage changes.

"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, M.D., Ph.D, and CEO of HL7. "PHR's will give consumers the power to integrate and manage their personal healthcare information and it provides a framework for standards-based interoperability between the consumer and the provider."

Health insurance plan-based PHRs contain claims encounter and administrative data drawn from health insurance plan data sources as well as individuals' self-entered information.

AHIP and BCBSA have developed an implementation guide ("Implementation Guide for the Personal Health Record Data Transfer Between Health Plans") containing technical standards, a data dictionary and operating rules for the transfer of PHR data elements between health insurance plans. Use of the Implementation Guide by health plans allows individuals to move PHR data when their health coverage changes, in compliance with applicable state and federal privacy and security laws.

"Personal health records will serve as the foundation for connecting patients with providers, and offer consumers peace of mind," said Karen Ignagni, president of AHIP. "We are pleased to be collaborating with the BCBSA to work hand in hand to create the best uniform application."

To ensure long-term maintenance of the standards, AHIP and BCBSA have agreed to turn over the maintenance of the technical standards components of the Implementation Guide to HL7 and ASC X12 for further development, balloting and joint long-term maintenance.

For more information: www.himss.org

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