Mass eHealth Collaborative in the Boston Globe

The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) is featured in today’s Boston Globe ($50m test seeks to end doctors’ paper chase). The collaborative is perhaps the most promising of the many similar-sounding initiatives going on around the country, and I’ve written about it here and here. That’s because MAeHC is properly funded, has the entire health care community on board, and is run by people who know what they’re doing, including CEO Micky Tripathi.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is picking up the entire tab. Why? According to the article,

Blue Cross, the state’s largest health insurance company, is footing the bill for this pilot initiative because it wants to show electronic medical records will benefit all players in the healthcare system by improving care and reducing costs.

”We really want to prove this is worth doing,” said Carl Ascenzo, senior vice president and chief information officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Actually, what really happened is that Blue Cross and Blue Shield was making too much money and rather than give it back through premium reductions they were given the opportunity to curry long-lasting influence in the system and further humble their competitors by fully funding this effort.

The article continues:

…[S]ome studies have predicted that health insurance companies, not doctors, reap the most immediate financial rewards through the elimination of needlessly duplicated tests and fewer errors.

”The people who are expected to make the investment, doctors, don’t see the benefit,” said Micky Tripathi, [MAeHC CEO].

He’s right. Other initiatives that require doctors to pay are facing much slower going. The MAeHC has seized on the rare opportunity to get one payer to pay for it all and is determined to make the most of that chance. I wish them well.

August 29, 2005

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