Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

Health Information Exchange in New York Continues Growth

By Sara Heath

Health information exchange (HIE) networks have just gotten larger in New York State. On October 18, HealthlinkNY, the state’s HIE network, announced that it is has connected the Hudson Valley and New York’s Southern Tier to the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY). This will allow regions that are a part of HealthlinkNY to exchange health information with other regions that connect to the SHIN-NY.

New York HIE facilitated by HealthlinkNY, SHIN-NY health information exchange network

The HIE has been successfully employed across 11 counties in the state after the implementation of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY). This will allow clinicians to connect and securely share patient health information across New York, closing gaps in care, coordinating care, saving time, and saving money.

HealthlinkNY is a “Qualified Entity” HIE, and the first of New York’s nine QE’s to create a connection with the SHIN-NY during part one of SHIN-NY’s three-part rollout plan. Since the start of SHIN-NY’s implementation, all stages have been completed, and all counties have been connected to it. This further allows HealthlinkNY to securely connect to other regions’ patient information, increasing the quality of care delivered throughout the state.

“Patients can expect to receive higher quality care as a result, as physicians can now make more informed treatment decisions. The SHIN-NY should also help reduce duplicate and unnecessary testing by allowing information already recorded to be more easily shared, which can reduce healthcare costs overall,” HealthlinkNY stated.

This should also let patients receive care if they are away from home, HealtlinkNY executives say.

“This is a giant step forward for providers and consumers,” said HealthlinkNY CEO Christina Galanis. “The vision of truly interoperable cross-regional data-sharing now becomes a reality for New York State. Medical records can electronically follow patients, with their consent, throughout the state if they need care away from home or from another provider. This is especially important for patients who require emergency care while traveling, or go away to college, or seek treatment at specialized facilities in New York City and in other areas of the state.”

Earlier this year, the New York State Legislature put $45 million toward funding the SHIN-NY. These funds were set to provide “grants, services and expenses related to  the  establishment  and  administration of the statewide health  information  network for New York, including but not limited to technology,  equipment, software, personal service,  fringe  benefits,  and  indirect costs.”

Executive Director of the New York eHealth Collaborative David Whitlinger explained that the state’s funding for the SHIN-NY would go toward connecting all of the different counties around the state to one HIE, facilitating more secure information exchange regardless of where a patient may receive care.

“These services will allow doctors to look up individual patient records through a secure search engine, exchange direct messages with other doctors, and receive alerts when their patients have an important event such as entering an emergency room or being discharged from a hospital,” Whitlinger said.

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