Scaling the Health Care Mountain

By December 7, 2006Health Care

With health care costs having risen way ahead of the rate of inflation for nearly a decade, there is no better metaphor for the task ahead of business and government than scaling a mountain.

A big step up that mountain took place on December 6 when a group of far-sighted companies launched DOSSIA, a Web-based organization that will help the 2.5 million employees at these companies keep track of their health care records, starting next year. Companies involved are Intel, BP America, Applied Materials, Pitney Bowes and Wal-Mart. For more about their new non-profit, go to www.dossia.org or just click here.

Transparent and portable medical files that employees will build will help rein in costs by providing all of a person’s physicians with a better picture of the types of care that had been used in the past, eliminating duplicative or unnecessary prescriptions and treatment. Dossia’s information is owned and controlled by individuals and it is not retained in one central site, but spread out in a “federated” fashion so that hacking, should it ever occur, would not be able to piece together all the components of a person’s health history. Privacy was a chief concern in developing Dossia.

Joining executives from the Dossia supporters at the press conference was NAM President John Engler. He noted the full support that manufacturing brings to this initiative and commented on how manufacturers harness technology daily in their operations and it is a logical step to apply similar principles of innovation and transparency to IT health care. As a former governor, Mr. Engler could also forecast that there will be great interest in the states to sign up Medicaid recipients for this new program as well.

Click here for a fact sheet on Dossia and here for a short summary of some of the things supporting organizations, CEOs had to say.