July 1, 2008
Aetna Endorses Markle Foundation Efforts to Ensure Privacy and Security of Consumers’ Health Information Online
Aetna (NYSE:AET) today announced its support of a newly released Common Framework for Networked Personal Health Information developed by Connecting for Health, a public-private collaboration operated by the Markle Foundation. The Connecting for Health Common Framework outlines how consumers' online health information is kept private, including guidelines for developing clear privacy policies, allowing consumers to control copies of their health data and preventing third parties from obtaining information without a consumer's authorization. The goal of the Common Framework is to increase consumers' use of online tools such as Personal Health Records (PHR) by creating a common set of privacy principles that consumers can trust.
"As a health plan, we have an opportunity to effect change in the health care system by helping people access their health information and provide the support needed to make wise health care decisions," said Meg McCabe, Aetna's vice president of medical and eHealth product. "We see a future where consumers are fully engaged in their health and take responsibility for health care decisions. To achieve that, we need to provide a secure environment where consumers can feel comfortable sharing their personal health information. As part of our efforts to create this environment of trust, Aetna participated on the Connecting for Health workgroup and is well along the path of implementing the Common Framework privacy principles. As a HIPAA-covered entity, consumer privacy and security protections are ingrained in our core values and business operations."
Aetna currently offers a suite of consumer tools and information available through Aetna Navigator, Aetna's secure, password-protected member website. Aetna offers the CareEngine(R)-Powered PHR which helps people become better informed, organized and active with regard to their health. Aetna provides more than 5 million people with access to PHRs that combine detailed, claims-driven information gathered from across the health care spectrum - such as physician offices, labs, diagnostic treatment and pharmacies - with user-entered information such as family history or allergies. The result is a comprehensive health profile that the member can access anytime online, and print to share with his or her doctor.
Aetna also makes a variety of tools available to all members to find information about health care costs, benefits and claims, credible health information, hospital quality data, an online provider directory, a health history report and health reminders. In addition, Aetna recently introduced a new personalized health search engine called Aetna SmartSource(SM). Based on a medical search term such as diabetes or asthma, Aetna SmartSource helps members search various Aetna resources to find easy-to-understand health information, doctors in the local area who participate in their health plan, commonly used medications and treatment options, estimated health care costs and Aetna programs and discounts that can help members manage their health needs.
A demonstration of Aetna's consumer tools is available to reporters who request it. To view the Markle Foundation's Connecting for Health Common Framework, go to www.connectingforhealth.org.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. www.aetna.com