Carving Out A Viable Health-Wealth Portal Vision

In 2012, a panel of six editors at American Banker magazine scoped the marketplace to find credible ideas that banks could engage. The panel selected 12 ideas to create a top 12 findings report. The first idea on the list – the “Health-Wealth Portal” – was developed in consultation with HIMSS Medical Banking Project’s John Casillas.

The vision seems simple enough: combine personalized healthcare content into a secure and interactive website that authorized individuals can use to better make their healthcare decisions.

This content could be items, such as:

  • Personal health records (PHRs);
  • Links to specialized self-help communities;
  • Continuously updated information that shows current spending in healthcare and remaining deductible balances;
  • Views into the family’s health savings accounts; and 
  • The ability to make routine physician appointments or sending messages to the primary physician, pharmaceutical compliance reminders and more.

Ultimately, the portal is an aggregator of personalized, feature-rich content that can drive better health for the family.

Just like online banking, the portal is accessible via user name and password through a highly secure identity management process.

In fact, why not use the identity management process and technologies already invested in by banks and have credentials that are passed over to the health-wealth portal, so that all the controls are implemented in the online banking environment? This would, of course, include all the benefits of ongoing investments in privacy and security. The consumer could thus access his or her portal using online banking or as in the case of many banks that are migrating to mobile platforms, through their personal telecommunications device or iPad.

Most of the vision described is already available today. Check out apps for iPhone, and you’ll see a host of PHRs that can be pulled down and used.  But, yet another layer of activity, being worked on by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, seeks to provide the platform for moving all the information that will be required to have a full and robust healthcare record.

How susceptible is this part of the effort to disruptive innovation?

Is there an easier path than what is anticipated by the Nationwide Health Information Network?

And even if it happens, NwHIN or a disruptive innovation, will the banking system be in a position to advance the creation of a “health-wealth portal” as envisioned?

To the first part of the question about the potential for disruptive innovation, I’ll be the optimist, and say that the answer is likely, yes. Many plans are being advanced to support the NwHIN goals external to what the ONC is planning. I believe that some of these will take root and grow quickly…leading to health data liquidity. Enough said.

What about the last mile – getting to the consumer touch point as efficiently as possible? And who will pay for this?

With much thought around this particular issue, I strongly believe that medical banking is a strong and viable approach. Technology, scale, investment priorities, trust (Though for banks participating, fully and publicly embracing HIPAA is critical.), ability and incentive to facilitate socialization among consumers, ease of use, addressing generational gaps in technology, efficiently addressing linguistic barriers, etc., all seem to favor the banking system. Enough said again.

We are entering a time when joining the efforts of ONC and others can hasten the long-awaited, robust exchange of health data, yet what is clear is this: what consumers will buy and what is being built may be two different things. People want useful tools that better inform their healthcare decisions. Among the technologies that will be required, the PHR is certainly important – but it’s just one component.

For more information on HIMSS Business-Centered initiatives, please contact John Casillas, senior vice president, Business-Centered Systems, at jcasillas@himss.org, or Juliet Santos, senior director, Business-Centered Systems, at jasantos@himss.org.

About John Casillas

John Casillas is Senior Vice President, HIMSS Financial-Centered Systems and HIMSS Medical Banking Project
This entry was posted in Business-Centered Systems, Health IT News and Developments, HIMSS News and Developments and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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