Health information technology is a top priority. Why? Shared e-Records would result in lower costs and safer, more integrated patient care. Recently Humana and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida created the Availity Health Information Network. Availity works across 100 percent of Florida hospitals with 95 percent of practicing doctors participating. This inevitably resulted in the expansion of the network to numerous other states.
States and the federal government have been talking about the need for health information technology for a long time, but Humana and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida – competitors – didn’t wait for someone else to come up with the money or a framework. In 200l, they created Availity.
The idea was simple: help Florida hospitals, doctors and other providers reduce administrative costs by giving them real-time insurance information. That enabled them to confirm benefits and collect the patient’s portion of the bill on the spot. But Availity’s services quickly expanded. Today Availity consolidates claims-based information routinely collected from physicians, pharmacies, labs, hospitals and other providers. That creates a single, comprehensive view of patients’ health histories – diagnoses, procedures, medications, test results, immunizations and hospitalizations – doctors never had.
Availity also allows doctors to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically, be alerted to potential drug interactions, order patient tests and get results online.
Administrators have stated that Availity saves $6 to $8 for each bill that isn’t mailed. Doctors have said the medical histories reduce the time needed for each patient assessment by up to six minutes. Availity has received numerous awards, including for patient relationship management and for being such a unique collaborative partnership.