State’s largest insurers are planning to store medical information in a single database
The medical information of millions of residents in California may soon be contained in a single, massive database. Two of the state’s largest health insurance companies are currently working to create this database and it may help make health care significantly more efficient. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are behind the initiative and the companies believe that the database will eventually lead to more affordable health care, but it has raised serious privacy concerns among consumers and advocacy groups.
Database could change the way health care providers access medical information
The benefits of the database are quite straightforward. Doctors will be able to access medical information more quickly than ever before. In emergency rooms, health care professionals will be able to review a patient’s medical history almost instantaneously, allowing them to provide care more quickly. By the end of this year, the database is expected to go online and change the way that health care providers access the medical information of their patients. The database is currently called Cal Index.
Privacy of patients is a major concern
There are privacy concerns when it comes to a singular database containing the medical information of millions of people. For one, how insurance companies obtain this information has long been subject to criticism. Privacy advocates are also concerned with the security measures that will be in place at the data center and whether or not they will be able to withstand cyber attacks. Considering the insurance industry’s relatively lackluster understanding of digital threats, such concerns hold a great deal of weight.
Insurers will have to prove that their database is secure and offers benefits to California
Most concerns will not be dispelled until sometime after the database goes online. If the database is able to accomplish its task effectively, it could serve as an example of what can be done in other states. Until then, however, Cal Index is likely to be subject to criticism and the health insurance companies behind it will have a great deal of work to do if they want to show that their system can offer some benefit to the state.