A Message from Our Board Chair.
The results of HEALTHeLINK’s recent projects in CT scan and emergency department utilization clearly demonstrate that Western New York’s clinical information exchange is far more than an IT project designed to put data into one’s electronic medical record (EMR). However you choose to measure, the positive financial impact on local health care costs is large.
For physicians who have been able to use HEALTHeLINK on a regular basis as I have, the larger and more meaningful positive effect on workflow efficiency, patient turnaround time and quality outcome of any episode of care dwarfs the raw dollar savings from test utilization that these projects demonstrate.
We have built the infrastructure. The challenge now is to make it as useful as possible. This translates into better end user experience, better access to the data and more patient consents. While we are well on our way to this end and remain well ahead of almost every community in the country, further advancing HEALTHeLINK starts with recognizing that this project is bigger than any one institution or stakeholder. It requires more collaborative efforts of payers, providers and businesses.
Hospitals and physicians need to pressure their EMR vendors to work with HEALTHeLINK to make the necessary changes for faster access to better data. Payers and providers need to juggle resources so the transition to more efficient care benefits the community as a whole without short term damage to any institution. Businesses need to understand the potential this has for their employees and generate the collective community will to see this through.
And most importantly, we as a community need to understand that HEALTHeLINK is a transformational event in our health care system. If used properly it can result in a significant competitive advantage to attract businesses here as the cost and quality of our health care will be substantially and measurably superior to other areas. Everyone will benefit from that.
David Scamurra, MD
Chair, HEALTHeLINK Board of Directors
Pathologist, Eastern Great Lakes Pathology/X-Cell Laboratories of WNY
A Message from Our Executive Director.
Marking six years of the unprecedented level of collaboration from local hospital systems, health plans, providers, and the New York State Department of Health, we continue to build a strong health information exchange in Western New York and undertake innovative approaches to improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety, and control health care costs. To date, all Western New York hospitals and nearly 3,300 physicians are participating and seeing firsthand the value HEALTHeLINK provides.
One indicator of how HEALTHeLINK is working is the number of times data is accessed via HEALTHeLINK. In 2014 alone, there were more than one million patient record lookups, enabling more efficient access to information doctors need to make better decisions for their patients. If you’re keeping track, it took six years to reach our first million, and only 12 months to reach the second million.
For that we owe a big thank you to all of our participating physicians and medical staff who regularly access HEALTHeLINK to better treat their patients. We are now able to measure and quantify the value of this use as was illustrated in a pilot project we did with three area emergency departments. In that project, we documented the impact of HEALTHeLINK when emergency physicians have the most current information on the patient. The study revealed that HEALTHeLINK improves both patient care and safety. And as far as we’re concerned, that’s what success looks like.
This year, we also made strides in taking what we have built here in Western New York to the next level through the advancement of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY). The SHIN-NY will allow a patient’s information to follow them anywhere they seek treatment in New York State. This kind of statewide access will help doctors effectively and efficiently care for patients, even when they’re away from home.
While our services have substantially expanded and adoption continues to grow, we still have work to do. We must ensure all providers and patients understand the opportunity to improve the delivery of care for consented patients by using the high-quality data available through HEALTHeLINK. It’s our goal to continue to showcase how HEALTHeLINK is providing value today, and how it will advance the health care of tomorrow.
Daniel E. Porreca
Executive Director, HEALTHeLINK