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Highmark Will Build Health Information Exchange with Verizon

The Pittsburgh-based health insurer's goal is fewer duplicative diagnostic tests, faster retrieval of clinical information, stronger safety measures and better coordination of care.

Pittsburgh-based Highmark, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is working with New York-based Verizon to construct a health information exchange.

The exchange will be built on Verizon Health Information Exchange, which is described in a release as "an interoperable health IT platform delivered via Verizon's cloud-computing infrastructure." It combines and standardizes patient clinical data for secure web access, incorporating strong identity-access-management controls.

"We welcome all hospitals, physicians and health insurers to become part of our HIE," says Deborah L. Rice, Highmark's EVP of health services, in a statement. "At the very core of this HIE is improved patient care, and that's the foundation of what our customers want from us and their care providers. It's about working collaboratively as a health care community and using the available health care data to provide the best possible care."

The first health care organization to join the Highmark project is West Penn Allegheny Health System, which contains five hospitals in the Western Pennsylvania region. Highmark has also tapped Accenture to help more providers integrate.

In addition to its work with Verizon and Accenture, Highmark's recent forays into next-generation health IT include the acquisition, with two other Blue plans, of NaviNet, a clinical health data communication platform. It also is working with Array Health to build a private exchange that small businesses can use to purchase

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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