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Independence Blue Cross Enhances SMART(R) Registry
Date:7/31/2008

New medication monitoring tool benefits physicians and their patients

PHILADELPHIA, July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- To better support high-quality patient care, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) is providing primary care physicians with enhanced information about IBC members with chronic conditions. This summer, physicians across the region are receiving a SMART(R) Registry with several important enhancements. The Registry is a tailored medical report that aids physicians in better treating patients with specific health care needs.

Twice a year, primary care physician practices receive the SMART Registry for many of their patients who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, coronary heart disease, asthma, and COPD. The reports include color-coded charts that note whether the member may be in need of a recommended test, procedure, or treatment. Reports also include confirmation that recommended tests have been completed, along with available results.

The SMART Registry, introduced by IBC in 2004 through an alliance with Health Dialog, will now add key new information regarding chronic condition members and will be available in a variety of convenient formats. Now included in the Registry is "medication persistence," a medication monitoring tool to help physicians manage patient care more proficiently. Persistence rates will show how often a patient fills their recommended prescriptions and obtains refills in a timely manner.

"We are very excited about the recent enhancements to the SMART Registry and how they will help doctors better serve their patients," said Dr. Esther Nash, senior medical director at IBC. "We consistently search for ways to make this information useful to physicians. Members with chronic conditions face a continuous challenge when it comes to keeping up with care recommended by their physicians. The Registry is an innovative means for doctors to identify gaps in care and work with their patients to better manage their health."

Also new this year, many doctors are automatically receiving an electronic copy of the registry. The CD version, rather than the previous binder format, allows physicians to sort the data in the way that works best for them, making patient outreach more effective. This version includes a PDF file of the entire SMART Registry as well as all supplemental materials. The binder format is still available upon request.

The SMART Registry is a key component of IBC's Connections(SM) Program; which is designed to assist providers and their patients in managing chronic conditions, and to help patients make more informed decisions about their health. The decision support element features Health Coaches, who are available 24/7 to answer questions regarding treatment options, as well as general medical questions.

The SMART Registry is also beneficial for physicians to note their practice's performance levels. Over time, the registries have shown how practices improve in terms of patient results.

These improvements are among the many ways IBC is working to more actively engage members and their treating providers in their health care decisions and their overall treatment plans for chronic conditions. Also this summer, IBC announced the introduction of a member incentive program called Rx for Better Health, which will waive the copays for many prescription drugs that are used to treat certain chronic conditions. The program began July 1 and ends December 31, 2008. For more information go to http://www.ibx.com.

The SMART Registry complies with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations that protect the privacy of a patient's personal health information. Such information is shared only with primary care physicians and sent under a secure seal.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information go to http://www.ibx.com.

SMART(R) is a registered trademark of Health Dialog Services Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bupa, a global provider of healthcare services. The firm's support activities include analytic services, telephonic and online Health Coaching for a broad spectrum of conditions, healthy lifestyle initiatives, and a variety of other support for individuals, payers, and physicians. The goal of the support activities is to help individuals develop more effective relationships with their physicians.


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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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