Year-Old Dossia Hits Restart amid Legal Spat

Article excerpt

PERSONAL HEALTH RECORDS

Dossia, the organization launched by five large employers last year to bring personal health records to millions of employees, is showing that transforming the health care system is harder than it looks.

Announced a year ago with much fanfare, Dossia, a product initially of Intel, Wal-Mart, Pitney Bowes, BP and Applied Materials, promised to develop what the health care industry has not: a patient-focused personal electronic health record that could be accessed by a person's medical providers and by patients regardless of who provided or paid for their health insurance. Cardinal Health later joined the group and, more recently, AT&T and Sanofi-Aventis became members. All companies have committed $1.5 million to the project.

This summer, however, Dossia found itself embroiled in a lawsuit with its technology provider, Omnimedix, a nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon. Dossia said the group didn't meet its milestones and Omnimedix said it wasn't being paid. Details of the dispute remain unknown, as a court granted Dossia's request to seal the records.

Late last month, however, Dossia announced it was starting over with a new technology provider, the Children's Hospital Informatics Program based at Children's Hospital Boston, which has developed a personal health record called Indivo.

To accompany the change, the founding member companies recently announced they would not only staff Dossia, but do so with their own employees.

"When we started this thing a year ago, we realized this is a learning adventure," says Colin Evans, Dossia's president and director of policy and standards for Intel's health group. "It became clear as we worked through this that our interests were better served if we were directly involved."

J.D. Kleinke, chairman and chief executive of Omnimedix, would not comment on the case but believes it would be difficult for Dossia to manage the project more closely without accessing private employee data. …