California insurers announce largest Health Information Exchange in the US
Today, health insurers Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross announced the creation of a statewide database of patient medical records in California called Cal INDEX. When it launches later this year, it will be the country’s largest health information exchange, or HIE. The exchange is set to disseminate patient’s longitudinal medical files, and will initially include 9 million patient files. Patients will need to affirmatively opt-out, as their files will automatically be included in the exchange. Patients will not initially be able to view their own health files in the exchange.
Details are still emerging about Cal INDEX. It is unknown if patients will have the ability to segregate mental health records from, for example, their dental records. However, given the comprehensive nature of the records in the database, this does not appear to be likely. Current media reports state that the Cal INDEX will be extremely comprehensive and include diagnoses, lab tests, physician and hospital visits, and procedures.
WPF also has a map of California HIE’s available here.
WPF has a report with information about how to make a Request to Restrict Disclosure of your medical file or treatment. A Request to Restrict Disclosure is a new HIPAA right that gives patients the full right to demand their health records not go to health insurers under certain conditions.
We will be posting much more about Cal INDEX as more details become available.