Nine Companies Unite to Focus on National Healthcare Consumer Confusion of Who Dr. Jones Really is

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A consortium of nine healthcare technology companies and healthcare providers has announced the adoption of a new consistent file format standard intended to establish basic data collection standards where they currently do not exist. "In today's healthcare marketplace, basic identifier information about a physician or hospital is scattered in different formats and in different places across the internet," said Christopher Parks, co-founder/CEO of change:healthcare, "And there's no certainty of the information being timely, accurate or consistent. As more consumer healthcare information is pushed out to end-users, how can we expect people to make good healthcare decisions if the information they're basing them on is inaccurate? The first step towards transparency in this industry is the very basic foundation of all parties agreeing on consistent labeling of information. The dCard standard will help all of us do that."

A consortium of nine US-based healthcare technology companies and healthcare providers has announced it will lead adoption of a new consistent file format standard for collecting, storing and exchanging of healthcare provider data.

To be called a dCard -- short for doctor card -- the new technology criterion is intended to establish basic data collection standards where they currently do not exist. Along with improved ease of collaboration, the partnership will help ensure consistency and accuracy among users of this information.

"In today's healthcare marketplace, basic identifier information about a physician or hospital is scattered in different formats and in different places across the internet," said Christopher Parks, co-founder/CEO of change:healthcare, one of the companies working on the standard. "And there's no certainty of the information being timely, accurate or consistent. As more consumer healthcare information is pushed out to end-users, how can we expect people to make good healthcare decisions if the information they're basing them on is inaccurate? The first step towards transparency in this industry is the very basic foundation of all parties agreeing on consistent labeling of information. The dCard standard will help all of us do that."

Joining change:healthcare, a Nashville-based technology firm focused on bringing transparency throughout the healthcare industry, in developing the dCard, are:

  • Within3 (Online professional network for health science professionals and organizations)(http://www.within3.com);
  • OrganizedWisdom Health (First human-powered, physician-reviewed search service for health information, products and services on the web) (http://www.organizedwisdom.com);
  • VerusMed (Providers of clinical briefs for 150,000+ physicians and healthcare professionals)(http://www.verusmed.com);
  • Peerclip (Online tool that enables physicians to organize, share, discuss and discover relevant medical information)(http://www.peerclip.com);
  • Ozmosis (Online platform that unites physicians and healthcare organizations in a collaborative environment to improve patient care) (http://www.ozmosis.com);
  • Enurgi (Online healthcare services company that connects families and patients-in-need with 1 million+ local, clinical caregivers across the country) (http://www.enurgi.com);
  • J. Parkinson, M.D. (Leading healthcare consumerism advocate and New York-based family practice physician)(http://www.jayparkinsonmd.com);
  • ReliefInsite (Secure, online pain management services) (http://www.reliefinsite.com).

"All of us have a burning desire to ensure healthcare information is correct," Parks continued. "And that's why we've agreed to work together to improve the consistent capture of that information on the front end."

The nine companies/providers will begin compiling currently available information on physicians into this new dCard format, which will contain four sections: personal information, professional information, educational information and training information. Personal information includes the physician's correct names, specialty, certification, license number, etc.; professional information includes (among others) office information, office hours and insurance accepted; education information includes country/organization where the physician studied; and training information includes residency, fellowship and societies.

"With the growth of online resources for physicians and consumers, accuracy and consistency of provider information is key," said Scott McQuigg, CEO of PeerClip and VerusMed, two members of the consortium. "With the dCard, information on physicians and other health providers will be more complete and consistent, allowing both groups to have one portable profile to use across the internet."

"From the provider perspective, it's not uncommon for a healthcare professional to have upwards of 10 places or more on the internet where their professional information is presented," said Michael J. Markus, Ph.D., co-Founder and president of Within3. "It's nearly impossible to keep all of this information current and accurate without a standard. In addition, healthcare professionals should have the ability to control their information both on the internet and offline. The dCard is a first step in establishing ownership and data portability - giving healthcare professionals the ability to easily manage and share their information with employers, insurers, tenure committees, societies, abstract review committees, colleagues and more."

Work on the dCard standard will culminate later this spring with a summit intended to finalize, approve and adopt the dCard standard. Parks stated that any individual, practitioner or company interested in participating in the dCard is welcome to join the development process.

The dCard is expected to be functional by May 1, 2008.

Other comments from consortium participants

"As a physician, I recognize the importance of adopting open standards and promoting knowledge exchange in healthcare. Ozmosis supports the dCard as an important step in achieving these goals."

  • Jason Bhan, MD and co-Founder of Ozmosis

"As a human-powered health search service, the dCard initiative is aligned directly with our mission of bringing simplicity to the complex world of online healthcare. As we hand-craft search results on physicians and other healthcare providers, it has become apparent that provider information such as address, phone number and accepted insurance plans are inconsistent and inaccurate from site to site. Without any industry standard to keep all of this information current and accurate, it's an easy decision for OrganizedWisdom to support the dCard file format that will help make this happen."

  • Steven H. Krein, CEO of OrganizedWisdom Health

"Enurgi is excited to join the leaders of the healthcare community in developing the dCard. The vision of this tool will allow all licensed caregivers across the country including nurses, certified nursing assistants, therapists and nurse practitioners to carry individual caregiver profiles wherever they are employed. This is critical as nursing staffing shortages continue to plague the healthcare industry and will enable employers in a healthcare setting to have a standardized, electronic profile record for all caregivers on staff."

  • Chiara Bell, Founder and CEO of Enurgi.

About change:healthcare inc.
change:healthcare, inc (http://www.changehealthcare.com) is a technology firm dedicated to promoting transparency in the healthcare industry. The company provides internet-based solutions such as its medical bill software directly to healthcare consumers and through employers interested in controlling healthcare costs by engaging their employees in making informed healthcare decisions.

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