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Over 350 Practices Integrate EHR Patient Data Into HEALTHeLINK

A 2018 HEALTHeLINK community report shows more than 350 physician practices now upload EHR patient data into the HIE.

Participation in HEALTHeLINK continues to grow with 350 practices integrating EHR patient data into the HIE.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Participation in western New York’s health information exchange (HIE) continues to grow, with more than 350 physician practices now integrating EHR patient data into HEALTHeLINK.

This finding and others came in HEALTHeLINK’s 2018 report to the community.

Over the past year, use of HEALTHeLINK’s results delivery service jumped more than 50 percent. The HIE’s results delivery service enables physician practices and care coordination networks to view their patient’s medical results directly in their EHR systems from other linked sources.

Additionally, HEALTHeLINK participants received more than 2.5 million alert notifications in 2018. These alerts include real time admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) notifications.

At present, more than 642,100 patients have subscribed to send alert notifications to their healthcare providers.

“Making sure that providers have their patients’ most complete and correct clinical information at the point of care via HEALTHeLINK continues to be critical for improving care quality and mitigating health care costs,” said HEALTHeLINK Executive Director Dan Porreca in a press release.

“With our health information exchange foundation well established here in Western New York, HEALTHeLINK is taking the next steps to ensure the quality of information for ongoing effective patient care and for advancing population health initiatives in our community,” Porreca continued.

Utilizing HIE services helps providers throughout the western New York region to facilitate care continuity and boost patient safety by leveraging secure access to patient EHRs.

HIE use in the region has increased steadily year over year since HEALTHeLINK’s launch in 2009. In 2018, providers used HEALTHeLINK’s patient record lookup service more than 4,259,300 times.

HEALTHeLINK is currently taking steps to incorporate HIE use into clinical workflows.

The HIE conducted a pilot study to gauge the efficacy of integrating HIE use into clinical workflows across three primary care and three specialty care practices. Physicians participating in the pilot study were not regular users of HEALTHeLINK. The six practices implemented a clinical workflow toolkit to increase HEALTHeLINK integration.

On average, providers in the pilot study saved up to 7 hours a week using patient chart preparation and pre-visit planning. Furthermore, participating organizations cut up to 30 minutes in patient cycle time by accessing test results and EHRs in advance through HEALTHeLINK.

Looking ahead, HEALTHeLINK is currently in the process of developing a population health system to link patients to their primary care doctor, identify gaps in care, and assess cost-of-care trends.

“The system will integrate clinical and claims data with a user interface enabling practices to monitor their quality and cost of care to drive better care at lower costs,” wrote HEALTHeLINK officials in the community report. “Once active, HEALTHeLINK will also be able to aggregate clinical and claims data at a practice level to support both the value-based and the patient-centered medical home programs.”

HEALTHeLINK also plans to continue collaborating with state and national partners through the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY) and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC).

The HIE now includes 5,344 participating providers, 1,203 participating practices, and 17,191 users.

“The time is now for physicians and providers to move beyond just accessing health information and on to contributing and utilizing HEALTHeLINK to its full potential,” maintained authors of the report.

In December 2018, BlueCross BlueShield announced a decision to begin contributing claims data to HEALTHeLINK.

The initiative to connect BlueCross BlueShield with HEALTHeLINK is part of the health plans strategy to improve care delivery and support Western New York’s transition to a more patient-centered care model.

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