Ever Heard of Interoperability?
Long word, long process; here’s the short story
Unless you work in the healthcare industry, you’re probably living your life without knowing what interoperability means. But soon, if you use health and wellness services at all, you’ll need to know at least a little bit about what it means.
Good to Know
Interoperability means that healthcare information and data can be connected among doctors, facilities, service providers, insurers, and others so that you have access to your health information wherever and whenever you need it. If you’ve ever changed providers or needed to see a specialist, you know that your medical records can take a while to catch up with you. That’s all going to change.
To get technical about it, this transfer of data will happen through application programming interfaces (APIs). Eventually, rather than waiting weeks for your medical records to move between providers’ offices, files will transfer almost instantaneously. That’s progress!
Need to Know
Opening these channels of information is actually a federal requirement for businesses in healthcare. So, as an insurance company, we’re required to create a secure information network that gives you access to your health information in real-time. This kind of accessibility helps you get more efficient and accurate care. It will enable your providers to identify problems more quickly and allow them to make quicker and more informed decisions.
Interoperability is a huge change in how the entire health industry works, and it won’t happen overnight, but the first steps are about to begin. In early July, 2021, Health Options will support electronic access to your claims through third-party applications in your mobile device or browser. For additional information, please click here.
But don’t worry. You’re still in control. Health data applications that you choose to connect will have access to your name, date of birth, plan information, providers used, medical, pharmacy and lab claims, and other data. See a list of the healthcare applications here. If you choose not to share your access – your information remains private. You turn data sharing on and off via your health and wellness application on your personal device. If you don’t download an app and turn on permission, nothing changes.
More to Know
You might never have given a single thought to healthcare data connections, or maybe you thought all your data dots were connecting behind the scenes already. Either way, knowledge is power. At its very basic level, this data sharing will help you and your providers make informed choices, eliminate wasted time and resources, and streamline healthcare services. This might mean fewer redundant blood tests and X-rays in the future, and we can all connect with that idea.
At-home COVID-19 tests (also referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter tests) are a key measure to protect you and others from spreading the COVID-19 virus. These tests can be taken at home or anywhere, are simple to use, and provide rapid results. You can use at-home tests whether or not you have symptoms, and regardless of vaccination status.
We are pleased to announce that through an agreement with our pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts® (ESI), you may now order at-home COVID-19 tests via phone, online or through your local pharmacy counter at no cost to you. Each Member on your policy may obtain up to eight (8) free at-home COVID-19 tests every 30 days. Reimbursement instructions and FAQs may be found here.
The federal government also offers four (4) free at-home COVID-19 tests through COVIDtests.gov. The tests ordered on the COVIDtests.gov site do not count towards your total allotment allowed through Health Options.
We remind and encourage you to do the following to protect yourself, your family, and community from COVID-19 spread and sickness: