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VA Hospital Connects to NY Health Information Exchange

Canandaigua VA Medical Center is connecting to the Rochester RHIO and the SHIN-NY network of networks for improved health data exchange.

VA HIE

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Canandaigua VA Medical Center recently joined the Rochester Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) in an effort to improve veteran health record access and patient care.

Through a connection to the community health information exchange (HIE), VA healthcare providers will have access to all RHIO services and patient health records from 13 surrounding counties.

VA providers will also have the opportunity to access patient medical information gathered during community provider visits using RHIO’s clinical query tool, Explore.

Because many veterans receive care from both VA facilities and outside providers, the opportunity to instantly access data from outside visits will allow for a more comprehensive health record of veteran patients.

Additionally, VA patients and providers will benefit from better care coordination regardless of how many providers are involved in treatment. Access to the Rochester community HIE will allow for seamless data exchange reducing the number of repeated tests and allowing for quicker, more accurate patient care.

"Our partnership with the VA represents the culmination of considerable perseverance and foresight by both organizations,” Rochester RHIO CEO and President Jill Eisenstein said in a public statement. “This is our first step in expanding connectivity between VA and community healthcare providers. We look forward to collaborating with regional VA staff to help improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare for our Veterans.”

Sharable data available in the local HIE includes radiology reports and images, hospital admission and discharge transactions, hospital reports, medication history, lab reports, and basic demographic information.

“After years of working through various barriers, we are excited to partner with RHIO to provide secure health information access to VA providers.” added Research Program Coordinator and Research Integrity Officer at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center Thomas A. Rocco, Jr., MD. “This will allow for improved continuity of care and help to reduce duplication of testing and services; with the ultimate goal being improved patient care for our Veterans, and reduced healthcare costs.”

Patients will also benefit from digital image exchange, hospitalization alerts, direct messaging, electronic results delivery, and public health reporting.

Instant access to test results and faster communication between patients and providers will allow for more efficient care and better informed patients.

Participating in RHIO benefits veterans in ways extending beyond the bounds of what an ordinary HIE has to offer.

The Rocheseter RHIO is also part of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), which connects the HIE to seven other regional qualified entities spanning the state.  

SHIN-NY sets New York apart as the first state in the US to successfully implement a public network of regional HIEs.

The network of networks enables providers participating in RHIO to securely exchange records with any other healthcare facility within SHIN-NY.

“Our providers will begin RHIO training on Explore access to Rochester RHIO in May of this year,” said Rocco. “Ultimately, if Federal administration allows, we would like to see availability of secure two-way health information viewing between community and VA providers, to enhance patient care even more in the Rochester/Monroe/Finger Lakes communities.”

Canandaigua VA Medical Center’s efforts to improve patient care by linking up with RHIO mirrors VA’s overall attempts to facilitate more efficient, higher quality care for veterans.

The federal agency recently launched an online quality and access tool offering veterans insight into wait times, care quality, and appointment timelines for all VA healthcare facilities.

The quality and access tool enables veterans to compare VA facilities to make informed decisions regarding when, where, and how they receive care.

By offering patients more control over their own healthcare, VA intends to improve overall patient satisfaction among veterans. 

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