Highmark Announces Collaboration to Help Independent Physicians Prepare for Federal Government's Meaningful Use Requirements

Aug 04, 2011, 08:14 ET from Highmark Inc.

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Inc. today announced that it intends to team up with West Penn Allegheny Health System, Allscripts and Accenture to develop a framework to provide physicians with electronic health records functionality and practice management tools needed to meet the federal government's meaningful use requirements. Outreach to Western Pennsylvania physicians is planned for September.

Allscripts is the leading provider of electronic health records and other technologies essential to creating a Connected Community of Health, and Accenture is a global leader in management consulting and technology services.

"With this collaboration, we aim to create an opportunity for independent physicians to acquire the same advanced electronic health records and practice management tools that are currently made available by large health systems," said Deborah L. Rice, Highmark's executive vice president of health services. "Helping these medical providers leverage advanced administrative technology will enable us to promote best practices and clinical excellence across our network and will ultimately improve the overall quality of the health care services that our members receive."

Meaningful use requirements are the federal government's guidelines that enable health care professionals and hospitals to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments. Providers qualify for government incentives by adopting electronic health records technology and using it to achieve specified quality objectives. The collaboration is intended to offer an affordable package that includes electronic health records, electronic prescribing and practice management tool options such as electronic patient registration, scheduling and patient follow-up.

"Patients benefit from electronic health records and other electronic health capabilities at their physician's office through improved quality of care," said Tony Farah, M.D., West Penn Allegheny Health System's chief medical officer. "We plan to help physicians with very cost-effective electronic health record solutions that will enable them to access the records they need as quickly as possible to devote more time to their patients. These technologies help with care coordination and provide protocols that drive better health outcomes."

West Penn Allegheny recently announced an expanded relationship with Allscripts for its own technology platform spanning multiple hospitals, physician practices and post-acute facilities. Allscripts' strong product offerings and its ability to provide this technology to independent physicians throughout the region helped drive West Penn Allegheny to extend its contract.

"The physicians of Western Pennsylvania have been using Allscripts' solutions for years to improve the quality and efficiency of the care they deliver," said Glen Tullman, Allscripts' chief executive officer. "Meaningful use and the general movement toward value-based care creates a new and more challenging environment in medicine, and we are pleased to join leading players like Highmark, leading consulting organizations like Accenture, and our long-time partner West Penn Allegheny to help physician offices prepare."

As part of this collaboration, Accenture plans to assist practices in the use and adoption of electronic health record solutions to help enhance the physician experience and improve patient outcomes. 

"We maintain a market-leading track record for successfully shaping and delivering innovative technologies, clinical transformation and health management solutions, and nothing could be more important right now to Western Pennsylvania than enabling doctors and patients to use insight-driven health to make better health care choices," said John Edelblut, who leads Accenture's health business in North America.

About Highmark Inc.

Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Highmark serves 4.8 million members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia through the company's health care benefits business and is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. Highmark has 19,500 employees across the country. For more than 70 years, Highmark's commitment to the community has consistently been among the company's highest priorities as it strives to positively impact the communities where we do business. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.