UnitedHealth to debut EHR in 2019: 8 things to know

UnitedHealth Group revealed plans to debut an EHR in 2019 for its members and for providers, CEO David Wichmann said on the company's third-quarter earnings call Oct. 16.

Here are eight things to know:

1. Mr. Wichmann didn't provide specifics about the product, which was originally proposed during the insurer's November 2017 conference.

2. UnitedHealth may offer its members a personal health record through an expansion of its mobile wellness platform Rally, he said. Rally currently has about 20 million registered users.

3. The tool would "not only [outline] their individual health record but also [give] them next best actions" and ensure that there's no "gaps in care that have been left behind," Mr. Wichmann said on the call.

4. The EHR could also attract providers. "Our visions are also to take that to care providers to provide them with similar information but in a format that looks a little bit more like their EHR," he said, adding that it would also include next best actions using predictive analytics.

5. Mr. Wichman envisions UnitedHealth as the health records "custodian to try to drive better health outcomes for people but also ensure that the highest level of quality is adhered to — quality defined by evidence-based practices — and then also containing costs and eventually to incent the health system around responding to those deeply personal circumstances and situations."

6. UnitedHealth Group was reportedly one of the second-round bidders to express interest in acquiring athenahealth, which has been considering a sale, merger or keeping the company an independent entity since activist investor Elliott Management issued an unsolicited takeover bid in May.

7. UnitedHealth reported revenue was up 12.4 percent year over year at $56.6 billion for its third quarter. Its healthcare services business Optum also quietly scooped up Avella Specialty Pharmacy during the third quarter, the company's earnings results show.

8. Mr. Wichmann said the insurer will update investors on the EHR project at its upcoming November conference.

Editor's note: This article was updated Oct. 18, 2018 at 11 a.m. CST.

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