Wal-Mart joins Dossia coalition to manage employees' health records

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart has joined a coalition called Dossia with companies Intel, Sanofi-Aventis, Cardinal Health, Applied Materials, Pitney Bowes and British Petroleum to give employees and their dependents personal electronic health records as a way to keep their employees informed about their health and to try to save money on increasing health care costs, according to published reports.

Dossia is partnering with Children’s Hospital Boston in developing the e-health systems. Some of the information found in the digitized information will be prescription drug records and lab results. “Keeping employees healthier can help rein in health care costs not only for individual companies, but can help make an impact nationally,” said Linda Dillman, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of benefits and risk management.

With this in mind, Wal-Mart is also on a mission to increase the number of employees and their dependents who have health insurance coverage. More than 1.1 million Wal-Mart workers and dependents are now covered by Wal-Mart health plans. The percentage of Wal-Mart workers who are uninsured fell to 7.3 percent from 9.6 percent over the last year, said Dillman. She also said that during Wal-Mart’s open enrollment process for benefits last fall, more than 30,000 employees signed up for Wal-Mart health coverage for the first time, decreasing the number of uninsured workers by 20 percent.

In addition to the “beta group of about 20” Wal-Mart employees testing the Dossia e-health records, “every founder” company of Dossia is also piloting the system, Dillman said.

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