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Golden State Helps Carriers Take On Google

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The California Department of Insurance is working with health carriers in the state to set up a personal health record working group.

Initial members of the PHR group include doctors and representatives from units of Aetna Inc., Hartford; Health Net Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif.; Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.; UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.; and WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis.

The PHR system California regulators are envisioning would include claims data entered automatically by participating carriers along with data entered manually by patients, officials say.

The system would comply with information privacy standards developed by the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development, Paris, officials say.

Most carriers with PHR systems say fewer than 5% of plan members are using the systems, but about 22% of the plan members at Kaiser use the Kaiser PHR system, officials report.

Carriers that have PHR systems have provided anecdotal evidence of situations in which the systems have improved the quality and lowered the cost of care, or have helped plan members cope with disasters that disrupted access to records stored at home and in health care providers’ offices, officials say.

Google Inc., Mountain View, Calif., entered the personal health record market Monday by unveiling its own, free Google Health service.

The Google service gives patients the ability to enter their own information; permits patients to draw in data automatically from participating health insurers, care providers and pharmacy chains; and provides easy Web access to a variety of health care and health-related services, such as medical record retrieval services and heart attack risk calculators.


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