Seemingly on a roll, OptumHealth, the consumer facing health and wellness division of United Health Group (UHG), the nation’s largest health insurer, announced yesterday that it will support health record portability by allowing members to export their Optum PHR data to HealthVault. Basically, what this means is that any user of the Optum PHR (formerly know as Health AtoZ which is free to any and all, not just UHG members – it is ad supported) will be able to move their health data out of the Optum PHR and into HealthVault, with HealthVault serving as a long-term, independent data repository that is controlled by the consumer. This action follows on the footsteps of a similar announcement by Aetna in October.
While the press release states that this is being offered to all 25M+ members of UHG, it raises all sorts of questions. A few which we hope to have answers for next week when we speak to Optum are:
- Just how many UHG members are actively using the OptumHealth PHR today?
- Exactly what types of data will be portable? Is it everything that resides in a member’s PHR (e.g., claims, maybe PBM, HRA data) or some subset thereof?
- When will this be made available, is it live today or will it be phased in?
- What is the business case for making this happen? Is this something that employers are asking for or are there other justifications?
- Will you be making similar announcements in support of Google Health and Dossia (Dossia is a bit of a no-brainer)?
- How will data flow between the two systems (publish/subscribe model – RSS, Atom, etc.) and what will be the data standard used?
- How will you be positioning and advertising this capability to Optum PHR members?
We’ll put up a more in-depth post next week, provided OptumHealth is forthcoming with answering our questions.