2 insurers launch California health records portal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two California insurers are partnering for an ambitious project to establish one of the nation's largest health information exchanges, an effort they hope will reduce duplication and improve patient outcomes.

The not-for-profit Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross, a subsidiary of private insurance giant WellPoint, announced Tuesday they are starting the California Integrated Data Exchange. The medical-sharing portal will contain information for 9 million plan members.

It is designed to share patient medical records electronically among providers. That will give doctors and hospital staff quick access to see existing conditions and medications.

The insurers said the information exchange, known as Cal INDEX, would start at the end of the year and adhere to patient privacy laws.

A consumer advocate says greater input is needed from insurance plan members.