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Blue Shield of California Launches Patient Portal

The Patient Ally portal enables members to connect with physicians offices for a variety of interactions, including arranging online "e-visit" consultations, viewing lab results and immunization records, and ordering prescription refills.

Blue Shield of California has launched Patient Ally, an Internet portal enabling members to arrange online "e-visit" consultations with physicians, view lab results and immunization records, order prescription refills, and receive appointment reminders, among other capabilities.

The San Francisco-based health insurer characterizes the portal, developed by Vancouver, Washington-based Office Ally, as providing a new level of convenience and value for physicians and patients. "Blue Shield of California is committed to providing easy access to high-quality health care at a reasonable price, and Office Ally helps us to achieve that goal," comments Jim Orchison, director of network design and programs, Blue Shield of California. "We've made this new online patient portal free to all our members and to all the physicians in our network — and we think that it will boost both efficiency and satisfaction."

Roughly 92 percent of all Independent Practice Associations (IPAs) in California already use Office Ally's clearinghouse for claims submissions, according to a joint press release from Blue Shield of California and Office Ally. With the addition of Blue Shield's 3.4 million members, more than one-third of all Californians' medical records will now be stored in Office Ally's secure, HIPAA-compliant patient registry, according to the source.

Patient Ally is designed to work easily into providers' daily routines. It enables physicians with Electronic Health Records (EHR) to continually update their patient records, and allows those without EHRs to easily move to an electronic form of patient record, the joint source claims. "We think the benefits of a patient portal for members, health plans, and providers are just phenomenal," says Brian O'Neill, president and CEO, Office Ally. "Blue Shield is at the forefront of national efforts to improve health outcomes and the lives of members, and to control costs through greater use of technology. Patient Ally is helping Blue Shield to achieve their cost and quality goals by creating the circle of easy communication between patients, providers, and payers."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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