Dossia Doubles List of Key Health Record Adopters with Intel and Pitney Bowes

More big companies are giving electronic health records a go. The Cambridge, MA-based nonprofit Dossia says that two of its founding members, computer chip giant Intel and mail system provider Pitney Bowes, are offering its electronic health records system to at least some of their workers.

The next big test will be how many Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) employees actually opt to store their personal heath data in Dossia’s secure online records system. After all, Dossia CEO Colin Evans told me last year that his nonprofit will depend on subscription-fee revenue from employers that offer its electronic records to workers. Last month Vanguard Health Systems said it would offer Dossia records to its workers, and the healthcare company as well as Intel and Pitney Bowes say they are initially making the records system available to select groups of employees.

Dossia is not free, like some competing personal health record systems such as Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault. Yet Dossia could save its corporate clients, which are grappling with mounting healthcare costs, significant amounts of money. One of the theories behind personal electronic health records is that they empower people to live healthier lifestyles, preventing illnesses that drive up the costs of caring for them. Another goal is to use the online records to share patient’s health data with their doctors, reducing costs from redundant medical exams that doctors sometimes order when they don’t have access to patients’ original test results.

“The true power this technology can create is a user experience that lives up to the promise of helping people optimize their health with real-time, easy access to their health information and engaging applications,” said Tami Graham, director of global benefits design at Santa Clara, CA-based Intel, in a statement.

Dossia’s Evans told me in an e-mail that he expects Intel, where he was previously employed in the digital health group, to roll out the Dossia records system to all of its employees by the end of 2010. Vanguard is expected to do the same. Meantime, his nonprofit says that Stamford, CT-based Pitney Bowes will extend the system of all of its employees in April, and Evans told me the company will also promote the records to employees who receive care at its on-site clinics. There are now tens of thousands of people with Dossia personal health records, most of whom are employees of retail powerhouse Wal-Mart, which was the first company to adopt the technology in 2008.

With Intel and Pitney Bowes, Dossia has now launched its records system with four of the 10 companies that founded the group and have put a total of $15 million in startup funding into it. In November, Xconomy provided some of the background on Dossia, whose core technology comes from Children’s Hospital in Boston, as well as the considerable technical challenges the organization has faced in its three-year history, delaying the deployment of its system at companies.

“Dossia now has a stable [technology] platform that will support an ecosystem of applications,” says John Moore, a healthcare IT analyst for Chilmark Research in Cambridge. “Its [system is] now ready to be rolled out to its founding members.”

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