Medical records retrieval vendor MediConnect Global Inc. has acquired personal health records vendor PassportMD Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

South Jordan, Utah-based MediConnect serves insurance companies and law firms. It uses proprietary software to enable clients to order, track, retrieve and view electronic or digitized paper medical records via a secure Web portal. Clients can pull the records off MediConnect's portal onto their own server, although many retain the records on MediConnect's servers. The vendor also stores copies as a backup.

PassportMD was headquartered in Delray Beach, Fla., and has relocated to MediConnect's office in Utah. Acquiring PassportMD gives MediConnect a value-added service to offer to health plans' employers and covered members, says Amy Rees Anderson, CEO.

Health plans now can offer MediConnect-hosted PHRs to members either private labeled or directly from the vendor. Plans also can offer members records retrieval services, and auto-populated pertinent claims information from a health plan to augment member-entered information in a PHR, Anderson says. Members also can download their PHR to a USB device, and click on certain words in the PHR, such as a drug name or medical condition, to get layman's explanations.

Insurers would have no access to PHR information absent a subpoena filed under provisions of the HIPAA privacy and security rules, Anderson says.

MediConnect further will offer a service to payers to push out educational content to members with specific medical conditions, such as diabetes, without identifying to the insurers which members are getting what content, Anderson says. "The patient is ultimately the one dictating who to share data with and what they will see."

Anderson acknowledges that privacy concerns have in large part prevented health insurers from being successful in offering payer-hosted PHRs to members. She believes payers can be more successful using a third-party vendor to host a PHR that members can keep if they change insurance plans, and offers value-added services such as records retrieval and auto-populating of pertinent claims data.

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