SOURCE: Medem

November 06, 2007 10:15 ET

Top Health Plan and Leading Medical Liability Carrier Join Forces With Ohio Physicians to Deliver Personal Health Records

Historic Collaboration Targets Online Patient Communication & Safety

CLEVELAND, OH--(Marketwire - November 6, 2007) - Today, the largest Ohio-based healthcare insurer, Medical Mutual of Ohio, and one of Ohio's largest medical liability carriers, The Doctors Company, and its Ohio based subsidiary OHIC Insurance Company (OHIC) announced an initiative to better connect patients to their physicians using iHealth, a secure, online and transportable personal health record (PHR) service. The initiative will reach out to Medical Mutual's network of physicians in Ohio, several of whom already offer the iHealth service, regarding the patient and practice benefits of secure online connectivity and patient-owned PHRs.

"The best way to encourage our members to take an active role in their personal health is in association with their own doctor and the trust that comes with the patient-physician relationship," said Medical Mutual's Vice President of eBusiness, Bob Mau. "We will enable our members to directly engage with their own physicians by providing them with a transportable online PHR with automated data updates from our member portal."

Mau added that more employers are requesting the ability for their employees to interact with their physician online through secure e-mail, health and prevention messages and appointment requests, which saves time for both patients and their doctors.

The Doctors Company through its Columbus-based subsidiary OHIC is supporting Medical Mutual's effort to reach out to physicians to promote the use of PHRs and secure online patient-physician communication through iHealth.

"The Doctors Company regards iHealth as an important patient safety and connectivity initiative and believes that it has the potential to improve the quality of patient care, disease management and facilitate medication compliance. We want physicians to know there are prudent and efficient ways to communicate online that provide direct benefit to them. We encourage all of our insured physicians nationwide to utilize iHealth," said David Troxel, M.D., Medical Director for The Doctors Company, which is the nation's largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurance carrier in the United States. The Doctors Company insures more than 3,000 doctors in Ohio and 32,000 physicians nationwide.

This collaboration will include communications designed to improve the value of patient-physician connectivity and patient-owned PHRs, and a better understanding of how these elements can improve patient safety, documentation, disease management, and more actively engage patients in their own care.

"We are expecting to enhance the level of service to our patients by using iHealth," said John Schaeffer, M.D., president of North Ohio Heart Center. "Giving our patients the ability to securely e-mail us, make appointments online, and receive useful health and prevention information is going to be very convenient for them and efficient for us."

"The physician-patient relationship has proven to be the key to engaging patients online and driving the use of PHRs," said Edward Fotsch, M.D., CEO of Medem Inc., which provides the iHealth services to physicians. "This innovative and powerful model between physicians, health plans and liability carriers aligns with patient interests and with the new initiatives announced in Ohio by Governor Ted Strickland. Patient-centered networks connected to physicians and PHRs is an ideal model to improve healthcare not just in Ohio, but nationwide."

There is a keen and growing interest being expressed in terms of healthcare quality and cost-savings potential of electronic personal health records by many, including President Bush, other major candidates for the presidency, elected officials -- including Ohio's Governor and its legislative leaders -- and other influential healthcare and public policy organizations.

For more information, visit www.medem.com.

About Medical Mutual of Ohio

Founded in 1934, Medical Mutual of Ohio is the oldest and largest health insurance company based in Ohio. The company serves its customers through high-quality, affordable group and personal health insurance plans, and third-party administrative services to self-insured group customers. Based in Cleveland, Medical Mutual also has offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton and Youngstown. For more information, visit the company's award-winning Web site at www.MedMutual.com.

About The Doctors Company

Founded by doctors for doctors in 1976 to advance, protect, and reward the practice of good medicine, The Doctors Company (www.thedoctors.com) is the nation's leading physician-owned medical malpractice insurer. With $2.2 billion in assets, 32,000 physician members nationwide and A- ratings by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings, The Doctors Company enjoys a reputation as the industry vanguard.

About OHIC Insurance Company

Headquartered in Columbus, OHIC Insurance Company (www.ohic.com) is the leading physician-owned medical malpractice carrier in Ohio, and a wholly owned subsidiary of The Doctors Company. OHIC was established in 1978 to address the acute shortage of medical malpractice insurance capacity in Ohio and has honored its commitment for over 28 years.

About iHealth

iHealth is a suite of integrated Web-based services proven to effectively engage patients in better managing their health. Powered by Medem, this comprehensive physician-patient communication resource includes the leading patient-owned and standards-based Personal Health Record (PHR), which provides a secure vehicle for communicating online with healthcare providers and is interoperable with EHRs, health plans, pharmacies and other health systems. iHealth's online registration process also eliminates the medical clipboard, while patient-specific education, care management programs, FDA warnings and Health Risk Assessment tools improve the quality of information across the continuum of care. Founded by the American Medical Association and several national medical specialty societies, iHealth is supported by a broad constituent of industry partners, 45 medical societies, patient advocacy groups and government agencies. To learn more about iHealth, visit www.iHealthRecord.com.

Contact Information

  • Press Contacts:
    Don Olson
    Medical Mutual of Ohio
    Phone: 216-687-2899
    Email Contact

    Suzanne Meraz
    The Doctors Company/OHIC
    Phone: 707-226-0261
    Email Contact

    Jason Willett
    iHealth, powered by Medem
    Phone: 415-644-3926
    Email Contact