Blue Cross of California launches PHR

One of the nation's largest health insurers, Blue Cross of California, has joined the PHR craze. The Blue has launched an integrated wellness, care management and physician communication program--360 Degree Health--with its personal health record model as a central component. The program is intended to better reach the 20 percent of the health plan's members at greatest risk. Like other new PHRs, it's also an exercise in seeing how much useful information patients can actually be tempted to provide. It seems likely that any PHR, no matter how catchy the interface, would have a "shopping cart abandonment" problem.

The new PHR will include both member-provided data and claims data, both of which will be accessible by telephone and the Web. Wrapped around the PHR is a more comprehensive wellness initiative, offering members lifestyle programs, alternative medicine information and live health education. The website also offers interactive online tools helping patients make well-informed health choices.

To get more background:
- read BCC's press release