Personal health record venture gets new life

The employer-led Dossia initiative is back on track, thanks to a deal to use a Boston hospital's system.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted Oct. 8, 2007

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Two months after a legal dispute threatened to stall development of a large-employer consortium-based personal health record system, the project was resurrected with a new vendor and two new members.

Dossia, a nonprofit consortium of large employers created to provide PHRs for their employees, dependents and retirees, announced last month that AT&T and Sanofi-Aventis have joined as founding members. The two companies join Wal-Mart, Intel Corp., Pitney Bowes, Applied Material, Cardinal Health and BP America. The combined work force the group represents is now more than 5 million.

The consortium also announced it has contracted with Children's Hospital Boston to create the technology behind the PHR.

The news comes after legal disputes with Dossia's former vendor, Portland, Ore.-based Omnimedix Institute, surfaced in July.

Omnimedix was the target of a preemptive restraining order filed by Dossia in late June after Omnimedix reportedly threatened to file suit against Dossia for what it said were missed payments. Dossia said funding wasn't an issue.

An Oregon circuit court judge approved a restraining order in July that required any suits filed by Omnimedix be sealed, and prevented the company from discussing the ongoing dispute. Neither Dossia nor Omnimedix would comment on the case.

While Omnimedix planned to build Dossia a customized system from scratch, Children's is creating a modified version of its Indivo PHR system developed nearly a decade ago.

Neither Dossia spokeswoman Shannon Love nor Children's spokeswoman Anna Gonski would disclose the terms of the agreement.

The dispute with Omnimedix and the change in vendors have delayed the project's planned implementation. When the project was first announced in December 2006 the group gave a target launch date of mid-2007.

Some of Dossia's early adopting founding members are expected to start using the PHR before the end of the year. The group is continuing to recruit founding members.

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