Dossia Off to Slow Start with Personal Electronic Health Records

Dossia is nearly three years from launching to provide electronic personal health records for major U.S. employers. And though the vision to provide employees of self-insured companies with a secure and portable electronic record of their health information is still alive, so far one company is offering the records to its workers.

The Cambridge, MA-based organization, which operates as a nonprofit, had a well-publicized launch in December 2006 and the support of founding members Applied Materials, BP America, Intel, Pitney Bowes, and Wal-Mart. The hope was, and still is, that the personal electronic records would lower healthcare costs and improve health of users. But only one of the 10 major U.S. employers that have pledged to support the development of Dossia’s health records system, Wal-Mart, has actually adopted the technology for its workers and their dependents.

Dossia has recently solidified its leadership team recently as it takes steps to drive further adoption of the personal health record system, which is based on the Indivo personal health platform (PHP) developed at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Colin Evans, Dossia’s president and CEO, was put on the payroll last month, having previously served the nonprofit outfit while technically an employee of the digital health group of computer chip giant Intel. Evans’ former Intel colleague, Steve Munini, the chief operating officer of Dossia, has also transitioned from Intel’s to Dossia’s payroll.

Evans said last week that he expects Intel, where the idea for Dossia originated, to open the personal health record system to its employees in early 2010. A total of four other founding employers will be ready to deploy the system within the next three months, he says. “My major goal is to get everybody from the founder group to get implemented,” Evans said. There are now only tens of thousands of users of the Dossia record system today, most of them employees of Wal-Mart, which deployed the system for its workers in fall 2008, he said.

Why haven’t the other corporate members adopted the technology? “They really want to see Wal-Mart … Next Page »

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