Beginning Monday, Billings city employees in the city’s health care program will be able to manage online just about all of their health care information — from wellness and exercise programs to doctor’s appointments, test results and prescriptions.
Employees and their families will have 24-hour computer access to their comprehensive health care information and can choose to share some or all of that information with providers.
The program is part of a national health care pilot project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology. The agency requested proposals for innovative ideas to improve health care using technology through its Consumer Innovation Challenge program.
Partners announced the project during a news conference Friday morning at St. Vincent Healthcare’s Marillac Hall.
Along with the city of Billings and ONC, the partners include EMBS, a Billings-based health care company; Dossia, a national health management system provider; HealthShare Montana, a nonprofit statewide initiative to promote electronic health care information; Rocky Mountain Health Network, a Billings-based physician hospital organization; and HeW, a health care consulting company.
“Today it’s commonplace to access your banking information, brokerage information, insurance information and more, online,” said Brad Putnam, director of HealthShare Montana, one of the partners. “Unfortunately, consumer electronic access to their health care information has not made similar progress,” he said.
The pilot project will give patients easy access to health care information previously unavailable from a single source, if at all, Putnam said. Patients will have access to an electronic health record that will follow them wherever they go and can be sent to new doctors or specialists before an appointment or used to order prescriptions, he said.
The project is funded through a $1.4 million federal grant from the State Health Information Exchange Program, said Lee Stevens, director of the ONC’s State HIE program.
Calling Montana’s approach to health care technology unprecedented, Stevens said, “We are just delighted to see this.”
LynAnn Henderson, vice president of business development at EBMS, said the project will provide a new model for health care information and will enable consumers to become the center of their own health care.
“It’s going to keep people out of the hospital,” she said.