Insurance giant, medical technology group team up to improve primary care services

An insurance giant and an electronic health-records company teamed up this week in a venture designed to coordinate the delivery of primary care services. 

Louisville-based Humana Inc. and athenahealth, based in Watertown, Mass., say the collaboration not only will encourage providers' transition to efficient new medical technologies, but will also promote better quality of care by providing financial incentives to primary-care doctors who meet certain quality benchmarks.

"Seamless, integrated electronic medical records are a critical necessity in patient care today, greatly reducing the chance of medical errors and duplicative treatment, facilitating a more holistic view of the patient's care profile and improving outcomes," said Bruce Perkins, senior vice president of Humana's Healthcare Delivery Systems and Clinical Processes organization.

"This partnership not only makes it possible, but makes it easy and affordable for providers to capture patient-care activity into an integrated [electronic health record]," he said.  

Under the partnership, physician services will be gauged using national HEDIS measures, which are designed to improve care delivery by monitoring things like readmission rates, generic drug dispensing rates and mail order usage.

Doctors participating in the Humana-athenahealth program could be eligible for payments up to 20 percent higher than the current fee-for-service system dictates.