RECENT NEWS

See All

Results from HEALTHeLINK study show decreases in patient readmissions and emergency visits through physician practice integration of health information exchange

BUFFALO, NY, February 17, 2020 – A recent study conducted by HEALTHeLINK in cooperation with a researcher at University of Connecticut and Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, demonstrates that provider offices effectively utilizing health information exchange (HIE) technology can help save their patients and the greater health care community both time and money. The results of the study of integrating HIE into workflow practice were published in the January 2020 Information Systems Frontiers which according to its website “examines new research and development at the interface of information systems and information technology from analytical, behavioral, and technological perspectives.” The study examined whether integration of HIE services into medical practices’ workflow would have an impact on emergency department (ED) visits and unplanned 30-day readmission amongst patients who were treated at the practice. When practices were trained on how to efficiently utilize and integrate the HIE into their daily workflow, the pilot concluded that the rate of unplanned hospital readmissions was reduced 10.2% and the rate of ED visits was reduced 13.3%. “The study demonstrates that HIE can significantly enhance patient care if incorporated into practice workflow,” said study author Niam Yaraghi, an assistant professor of Operations and Information Management at the University of Connecticut's School of Business and a non-resident fellow in the Brookings Institution's Center for Technology Innovation. Yaraghi’s research is focused on the economics of health information technologies. Yaraghi went on to say that, “The ability of a provider office having immediate access to review a hospital discharge summary or the results of a recent test can result in fewer redundancies and better medical decisions for the patient and naturally less time that patient has to wait in the reception area, all of which lead to costs savings in the health system.” Prior to the start of the pilot study, HEALTHeLINK first shadowed several practices to observe current workflows and gain insight into how they were currently gathering clinical information and potential ways HIE utilization, especially notifications, could save time in obtaining relevant patient records and test results. This resulted in the development and implementation of a training program at the pilot practices. “This is now the fourth study conducted by HEALTHeLINK that demonstrates greater efficiency in the health care setting, better care for patients and the overall cost savings through the region’s HIE and another example of how HEALTHeLINK is working when utilized by providers,” said Dan Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK. “In addition to utilizing HIE to reduce unplanned hospital readmissions and ED visits, participating study practices also reported to us increased ease of obtaining patient information and proactively supporting office visits. By accessing patient test results and records in advance, the practices saved up to seven hours a week in chart preparation and pre-visit planning and experienced a reduction of up to 40 minutes in patient cycle time.” As a result of this study, HEALTHeLINK has developed a practice workflow toolkit to assist practices with increased integration of HIE into their office workflow. “This study illustrates that in order for providers and practices to fully realize the significant impact and value HIE can have on patient care, it needs to be properly incorporated into their office workflow,” concluded Porreca. “As part of the Statewide Health Information for New York (SHIN-NY), the value HIE organizations like HEALTHeLINK provide is enhanced with the ability to connect providers and their patients’ data from across the state. If not being used properly, HIE and HEALTHeLINK can’t achieve its full potential in improving the quality and efficiency of care.” ### About HEALTHeLINK: HEALTHeLINK is a collaboration among hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers in the eight counties of western New York State to securely exchange clinical information to improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety and mitigate health care costs. HEALTHeLINK is a Qualified Entity of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), which enables providers to access their patients’ data from across the state. 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.

See All

HEALTHeLINK releases 2018 Report to the Community

Available at wnyhealthelink.com/2018 BUFFALO, NY – As the health information exchange (HIE) for Western New York, HEALTHeLINK continues to serve physicians and health care organizations in the secure exchange of clinical information. As highlighted in its 2018 Report to the Community, HEALTHeLINK is focused on enhancing patient care through streamlining care coordination, improving the quality of data, and exploring how best to serve the health care community of the future through population health measures and reporting. “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 Dan Porreca, HEALTHeLINK’s executive director. “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.” A few of the major highlights from HEALTHeLINK’s 2018 Report to the Community include: More than 350 practices continue to deepen their utilization by uploading patient data directly from their electronic health records (EHRs) to HEALTHeLINK, allowing for more complete patient medical records that other treating providers can access. HEALTHeLINK’s results delivery service, which enables practices and care coordination networks to receive their patients’ medical results directly into their EHRs from other linked sources, increased more than 50 percent over the last year. More than 2.5 million alert notifications, which included real time notification on patients’ admissions, discharges, and transfers – including local emergency department visits, were delivered to participating providers in 2018. As the result of a pilot study conducted with six practices to access what impact incorporating HIE into office workflow would have, up to 7 hours a week were saved with patient chart preparation and pre-visit planning and a reduction of up to 30 minutes in patient cycle time was realized by accessing test results and records in advance via HEALTHeLINK. HEALTHeLINK is developing a population health system to support clinical transformation at the practice level. Once active, the system will integrate clinical and claims data and enable practices to monitor their quality and cost of care. To view the 2018 HEALTHeLINK Report to the Community, please visit wnyhealthelink.com/2018. ### About HEALTHeLINK:  HEALTHeLINK is a collaboration among hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers in the eight counties of western New York State to securely exchange clinical information to improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety and mitigate health care costs. HEALTHeLINK is a Qualified Entity of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), which enables providers to access their patients’ data from across the state. 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.

See All

HEALTHeLINK releases 2017 Report to the Community

Report is available at wnyhealthelink.com/2017 BUFFALO, NY – Health information exchange (HIE) continues to have a positive impact on the quality of patient care across the nation, in New York State 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 one million uniquely consented patients, with approximately 96% 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% in WNY 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 that 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% 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,” added Porreca.  “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.” To view the 2017 HEALTHeLINK Report to the Community, please visit wnyhealthelink.com/2017. About HEALTHeLINK:  HEALTHeLINK is a collaboration among hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers in the eight counties of western New York State to securely exchange clinical information to improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety and mitigate health care costs. HEALTHeLINK is a Qualified Entity of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), which enables providers to access their patients’ data from across the state. 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.

See All

HEALTHeLINK Medical Minute

Throughout the year, various local health care leaders provide education about HEALTHeLINK as well as highlight the value and benefits of clinical information exchange here in Western New York.

See All