News | December 20, 2006

Verizon Puts Leavitt’s Goals into Action

Verizon Communications issued a release stating that chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg has committed the company's support to four goals proposed by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to improve health care quality and reduce costs through increased use of technology and providing more information to consumers.

Leavitt recently asked private employers, a major source of health
insurance coverage in America, to support four cornerstone goals aimed at improving the quality of care and lowering costs:
• Adopting standards for connecting health information technology, making it possible to share patient health information securely and seamlessly among health care providers.
• Adopting quality-of-care reporting so that health care providers as well as the public can learn how well each provider measures up in delivering care.
• Providing costs of health services in advance, so that when
patients choose routine and elective care, they can make comparisons on the basis of both quality and how much of the total cost they will have to pay under their health plan.
• Providing incentives for quality care at competitive prices, as in payments to providers based on the quality of their services, or
insurance options that reward consumers for choosing on the basis of quality and cost.

As an example of how technology can help make the delivery of health care more efficient and cost-effective Verizon cited the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, which uses Verizon's fiber network to transmit electrocardiograms from anywhere in the U.S. to the homes of the center's neonatal cardiologists.

Seidenberg served as a member of the Federal Commission on Systemic Interoperability, a group of medical, insurance, governmental, technological and corporate leaders tasked by Congress to develop recommendations and a timeline for the adoption of privacy-protected systems of electronic health information.

Verizon —a longtime advocate of a "consumer-centric” approach and using information technology to improve the quality, safety
and efficiency of the U.S. health care system — has already begun to adopt the Health and Human Services secretary's four goals.
Earlier this year, Verizon implemented a series of interactive online
resources to empower the company's employees to make informed health care choices. Employees can create their own personalized health records, and will be able to obtain a portable record of their own medical history, with claims information, test results and prescriptions – all in one easy-to-access, private and secure location.

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