Giant Health Insurance Claims Database Pilot Unveiled

Claims information for almost 80 million people, or more than one-quarter of the U.S. population, may soon be available online as a resource for evaluating health care trends and practices, Blue Cross Blue Shield says.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is creating a database of health insurance claims from 79 million of its clients. The data will have no personal identifiers and is intended to be a resource for evaluating health care trends, treatments, practices and providers.

Dubbed BHI (Blue Health Intelligence), the database is currently being pilot-tested and is supposed to become operational in 2007.

The insurer says it created BHI in response to calls from employers, consumers and providers for credible and actionable data that could be used to drive informed, evidence-based decision making. Twenty Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans currently are participating in BHI.

"BHI will play a central role in transforming the present health care system into a focused, knowledge-based health care system," said Scott Serota, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

/zimages/3/28571.gifBush signs off on a medical errors database bill. Read more here.

"In the near term, BHI will support the efforts of employers to better manage the health care benefits they offer their employees," Serota said. "Eventually, BHI will provide consumers with the information they need to make informed health care decisions and will heighten collaboration with providers as they deliver high-quality, evidence-based care to their patients."

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about the first national Pay for Performance Summit.

Backers say they are hoping BHI will enhance insight into health care trends and best clinical practices, provide information about the efficacy of certain treatments and new medical technologies, and allow the creation of benchmarking data to assist in conducting comparative analyses across a number of health care components.

Benchmarking health care providers is a goal of health insurers, in their attempt to move toward a pay-for-performance system in which facilities are reimbursed based on their health care outcomes.

/zimages/3/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on health care.