Health-care IT: N.D. insurer launches medical home initiative

October 24, 2008

A North Dakota health insurer is backing a state-wide "medical home" initiative in which participating doctors receive free analytics and reporting software.

A North Dakota health insurer is backing a state-wide “medical home” initiative in which participating doctors receive free analytics and reporting software.

As part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota’s so-called “MediQHome” program, the insurer is funding free subscriptions for physicians to web-based software from Atlanta-based tech firm MDdatacor.

The software aggregates clinical data from different sources, such as electronic health records systems or transcribed notes, and provides physicians with reports that identify patients whose treatment doesn’t meet clinical guidelines, says Heather McLarney, MDdatacor’s vice president of marketing. The company will assist participating physicians with training and implementation, she says.

BCBS hopes that all 4,200 providers in North Dakota will enroll in the program, which is scheduled to launch in January. The program will initially focus on patients with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, childhood asthma, and chronic lung disease, according to a statement.

Also as part of the program, MDdatacor is building a patient portal on its site, in which patients whose doctors participate in the program can access their own medical information via a personal health record, McLarney says. She expects the portal to be operational in January.

McLarney declined to provide prices that MDdatacor typically charges for software subscriptions. “For competitive reasons, we don’t like to put our pricing information out there,” she says.

BCBS defines the medical home model as patient care delivered through a personal physician who provides continuous and comprehensive care. Primary care practices act as the focal point for coordinating patient care. The model relies on heavy use of information technology to document and improve patient care.

“The key to building a patient-centered home program is accurate, timely data to help guide doctors to deliver desired outcomes, as well as data sharing between caregivers,” says Mike Unhjem, president of BCBS of North Dakota.

North Dakota-based physicians interested in enrolling in the program can find more information on the health insurer’s website.