Health information exchange (HIE) continues to have an impact on the quality of patient care across the nation, in New York through the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), and in Western New York as demonstrated in HEALTHeLINK'S recently released 2017 report to the community.
"The value of having a more complete picture of a patient's clinical history at the point of care for both the provider and the patient is reflected through our annual report to the community and reinforced by results from a survey of Western New York health care consumers we conducted last year," said Dan Porreca, HEALTHeLINK's executive director. "Despite this success, the fact remains that we have more work to do and need more providers to utilize HIE to achieve our goals of enhancing patient care to its fullest potential as well as to mitigate rising health care costs."
A few of the major highlights from HEALTHeLINK's 2017 report to the community include:
•Reaching and then surpassing 1 million uniquely consented patients, with approximately 96 percent authorizing their health information to be shared among treating providers.
•With a change in New York state policy, participating providers began securely retrieving data for consented minors (patients 10-17 years of age) through HEALTHeLINK.
•When a cyberattack took down Erie County Medical Center's network, HEALTHeLINK was an asset in helping ensure clinical operations could continue to run safely by making patients' data available during the system recovery effort.
•HEALTHeLINK utilization grew by 50 percent in Western New York emergency departments in 2017 as a result of working with providers and their staff to assist with workflow and provide further education on the benefits of using health information exchange.
•HEALTHeLINK continues to work with participating practices to support care coordination and care transitions through the two-way exchange of patient information and delivering alert notifications for hospital admissions and discharges. In 2017, alert notifications grew with 558 providers and 390,460 patients subscribed.
•Health care consumers in Western New York largely believe access to electronic health records by physicians is good for health care according to the findings of a consumer survey of 1,000 residents conducted by HEALTHeLINK in September 2017. The survey also revealed a high level of awareness of the use of HEALTHeLINK to share electronic health information, and 81 percent of those surveyed indicated they would encourage their doctor to use HEALTHeLINK.
"After just over a decade of collaboration with the region's hospital systems, health plans and providers, we are more focused than ever on building our offerings to support frequent users of HIE to maximize its value while at the same time continuing our efforts to persuade those who are not utilizing HIE," Porreca said. "If HEALTHeLINK is going to work to its fullest potential, then we need the support of the entire Western New York community, especially among those who are not utilizing our HIE capabilities."
HEALTHeLINK is a collaboration among hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers in the eight counties of Western New York to securely exchange clinical information to improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety and mitigate health care costs.
HEALTHeLINK is also a founding member of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), the national trade association of health information exchanges. Providers and patients can visit wnyhealthelink.com
or @HEALTHeLINK on both Facebook and Twitter for more information.