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HEALTHeLINK awarded federal funding from Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to expand immunization information sharing

BUFFALO, NY - March 17, 2021 - HEALTHeLINK announced today it is the recipient of federal funding from the Strengthening the Technical Advancement and Readiness of Public Health via Health Information Exchange (The STAR HIE Program): Improving COVID-19 Vaccination Data: Connecting Immunization Information Systems (IIS) to Health Information Exchanges from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The STAR HIE Program will support innovative health information exchange services that benefit public health agencies and improve the health information exchange services available to support communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will support efforts to increase data sharing between jurisdictional Immunization Information Systems (IISs) and Health Information Exchanges (HIEs). This cooperative agreement is funded through the CARES Act. “Since the coronavirus outbreak began early last year, HEALTHeLINK has been working closely with both county and New York State health departments along with our participating providers to offer HIE services which continue to support epidemiology, surveillance, and other community modeling and response efforts,” said Dan Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK. “This project is the next step in our COVID-19 response efforts, focusing on patient immunizations to enable providers and public health partners to more effectively track the vaccination progress and measure vaccination outcomes.” As part of the project, HEALTHeLINK will develop technologies to evaluate the COVID-19 immunization status for Western New York patients, risk stratify those most at-risk who haven’t received the vaccine, provide ongoing monitoring of patients who have received the COVID-19 vaccination, including identifying patients with an emergency department or hospital admission within seven days of immunization; identification of patients with a positive COVID-19 test within 60 days of immunization; and other monitoring criteria to be determined. With the results of these evaluations, HEALTHeLINK will deliver alert notifications to participating providers based on their patients’ immunization status, hospital admissions status, and COVID-19 test status. “HEALTHeLINK has been a close and trusted partner in support of our office of epidemiology and contact tracing program,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “As our community’s COVID-19 response efforts shift to vaccination, our department will rely on HEALTHeLINK for population-level data regarding COVID-19 vaccine uptake and monitoring.” ### 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.

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HEALTHeLINK releases 2020 Report to the Community

Available at wnyhealthelink.com/2020 BUFFALO, NY, February 8, 2021 – HEALTHeLINK, the health information exchange (HIE) for Western New York, continues to play a vital role in the delivery and quality of patient care. As highlighted in the HEALTHeLINK 2020 Report to the Community, the value of HIE has never been more evident. “We understand the unique and critical role HEALTHeLINK has to securely share clinical information and to also support our health care community in times of crisis,” said Dan Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK. “We proved it once again as throughout the pandemic, HEALTHeLINK has enabled treating providers to securely obtain their patients’ current health information where it’s needed, when it’s needed. We also continue to support the community with our core services including alert notifications and health record lookup. As the numbers show, even more providers and practices are utilizing HEALTHeLINK for improved, more efficient coordination of patient care.” When the coronavirus outbreak began to surface in early 2020, HEALTHeLINK worked in close partnership with county health departments and the New York State Department of Health to quickly mobilize several services to support epidemiology, surveillance, and other community response efforts that continue to be actively utilized today. Since March, use of patient record lookup by county and state health departments more than doubled. In that same timeframe more than 5.4 million COVID-related alert notifications were delivered to participating providers. A few of the major highlights from HEALTHeLINK’s 2020 Report to the Community include: More than 10 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 2020. Patient record lookup which enables participating HEALTHeLINK providers to instantly access a consented patient’s clinical record and obtaining information such as test results, medication history, etc. totaled nearly six million. In early 2020, HEALTHeLINK launched HEALTHeOUTCOMES, a community population health tool that currently utilizes clinical data from HEALTHeLINK data sources and claims data from BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Independent Health, and Univera Healthcare. HEALTHeLINK is among the first HIEs in the country to achieve National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Data Aggregator Validation status, ensuring the integrity of clinical data received from its data sources to support HEDIS quality reporting requirements. Over the next two years HEALTHeLINK is working as part of the Healthy Community Alliance task force for community information exchange to explore and ensure the integration of social needs data with patient clinical data to provide a holistic view of a patient’s needs and challenges. Finally, in 2020 alone, the HEALTHeLINK team worked on a total of 86 different products focused on improving the HIE foundation and enhancing the services offered to its participants across the health care community. To view the 2020 HEALTHeLINK Report to the Community, please visit wnyhealthelink.com/2020. ### 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.

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HEALTHeLINK achieves NCQA Data Aggregator Validation status

Raises bar on quality of data exchanged; Helps streamline HEDIS® reporting data for health plans  BUFFALO, NY - November 5, 2020 – HEALTHeLINK announced today it is among the first health information exchanges (HIEs) in the country to participate in the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Data Aggregator Validation program. Having recently completed a pilot program along with two other New York State HIEs, HEALTHeLINK earned one year of Validation status which means it has the ability to share validated sources for standard supplemental data for use in measurement year 2020 HEDIS® (Healthcare Effectiveness Data Information Set) reporting. HEDIS is a comparative tool developed by NCQA and used by more than 90% of America’s health plans to measure and compare performance in population health, including tracking immunizations, screenings, and other preventative interventions. “With NCQA Data Aggregator Validation, this is another opportunity for HEALTHeLINK to bring value to both our health plans and providers,” said Dan Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK. “The ability for us to simplify and automate what is predominately a manual process for health plans to gather clinical data to conduct their HEDIS reporting is exciting. With this validation recognition and the ability for health plans to leverage HEALTHeLINK for the data they need on their members, there will be much less need to disrupt practices to pull charts in support of HEDIS measure reporting; that data acquisition will now be streamlined via HEALTHeLINK.” NCQA worked to develop the program protocols and with each HIE to ensure all Data Aggregator Validation program standards and protocols were met. Health plans now have access to an efficient process to collect high quality, comprehensive data for HEDIS measurement. Both plans and providers can use the data created from this process to address other needs, such as closing care gaps and improving care delivery. “Our Data Aggregator Validation program was formed to address what payers were telling us, that HEDIS® audits of clinical data from aggregator vendors could prove too burdensome,” said Rick Moore, NCQA chief information officer. “Now, NCQA can validate an aggregator’s data sources prior to a HEDIS reporting year, and then health plans may use the approved sources as standard supplemental data without requiring more audits at the plan level.” NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. For more information, visit ncqa.org. ### 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.

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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.

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