Having trouble viewing this message? Click here to view web version »


  Special Edition: WNY Beacon Community Marks 2nd Anniversary

  May 2012   //   Issue 8


The Link - HEALTHeLINK Newsletter

WNY Beacon Community marks 2nd anniversary

Beacon Community Program

In May 2010, the Western New York community with HEALTHeLINK as the lead grantee received a $16.1 million award, one of the largest Beacon Community Awards in the country, from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Today, HEALTHeLINK is continuing to improve clinical outcomes and patient safety with its clinical transformation partners Catholic Medical Partners and P2 Collaborative of Western New York by attempting to move the needle in a positive direction for diabetes care management by taking a preventative health care focus through early intervention and better care coordination.

Over the past two years, WNY Beacon has leveraged the foundation built by HEALTHeLINK’s investments in health information exchange infrastructure through the expansion of data sources and addition of technology to support long term care, home health and telemonitoring sources. As one of only 17 Beacon Communities, Western New York is part of a real microcosm of a larger health care quality revolution, lighting the way for other communities across the country.

For more information, please click here.

Beacon Community Pillars

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has identified three pillars to define the scope of work for all 17 Beacon Communities, including Western New York. These pillars and how WNY Beacon is achieving them are below.

Pillar #1:

Build & strengthen health IT infrastructure and information exchange capabilities to pursue a new level of sustainable health care quality and efficiency.

WNY Beacon continues to successfully leverage HEALTHeLINK’s investments in health IT in addition to expanding the amount of data available to participating providers through the health information exchange. A few of the IT infrastructure capabilities include:

  • Clinical reports delivery: 90% of lab reports and 80% of radiology reports generated in WNY are flowing through HEALTHeLINK and delivered directly into participating physicians’ EHRs.  Nearly 1,000 (and growing) providers receiving discrete data results into their EHR.

  • EHR to EHR clinical data transfer: 65% of Beacon primary care providers using to send bidirectional discrete patient information for referral purposes.
  • Patient Record Lookup (VHR): 650% increase in use of VHR access to patient data from December 2010 to 2011. 87% of Beacon primary care providers are VHR users.
  • E-prescribing: Approximately 51% of all prescriptions written in WNY were sent to pharmacies electronically in 2011.

  • Clinical Transformation services: See article below
  • New Data Sources to HIE: Developed interfaces for 21/28 hospitals in WNY to date and developed interfaces with three home care agencies, with an additional two in the pipeline.

Pillar #2:

Translate investments in health IT to measureable improvements in health care cost, quality and population health.

WNY Beacon builds on HEALTHeLINK’s foundation to assist practices in EHR adoption and achieving meaningful use. With its clinical transformation partners, Catholic Medical Partners and P2 Collaborative of Western New York, WNY Beacon is facilitating the effective use of health IT support, such as results delivery, clinical decision tools, EHR interoperability, and patient record look up in provider practices to reduce the number of individuals with uncontrolled diabetes.

To date, WNY Beacon has enrolled 329 primary care physicians out of the targeted goal of 350. In addition, 289 of these physicians have signed statements of work and are implementing Beacon activities in their practices. HEALTHeLINK and its partners have also assisted 300 providers in 64 practices achieve NCQA PCMH level 2 or 3 certification and 43 practices achieve Meaningful Use.

Identifying the patient population is the backbone to the population-based care delivery system. One of the key interventions of WNY Beacon is the use of electronic health records to generate diabetes registries for quality improvement at the practice level. A registry is a mechanism for tracking pertinent information about a specific group of patients (i.e. diabetics). The information can be used to track labs values as well as generate reminders and guidance of the care of patients. WNY Beacon has developed a process for helping physician offices to stand up and effectively use registries to improve health outcomes through continuous monitoring of a patient’s health condition, before it becomes a bigger issue and/or requires hospitalization. To date, 51 practices, representing approximately 30,500 diabetic patients, have stood up their registries. An additional 22 practices are scheduled to be up in the coming weeks.

Pillar #3:

Test innovative, evidence-generating approaches to improve health care performance measurement, technology integration and delivery.

WNY Beacon is working on a number of pilot programs to engage patients in their care, which are highlighted in greater detail in the three articles below.

Utilizing telemonitoring for preventative diabetes care

Last summer, WNY Beacon launched a telemonitoring pilot with a focus on high-risk patients before they are hospitalized with a goal of reducing preventative emergency room visits and future hospital re-admissions. The pilot connects home health care agencies - Catholic Health’s McAuley Seton Home Care, Kaleida Health’s Visiting Nurses Association of WNY and Advantage Telehealth – and primary care providers to provide these high-risk patients with in-home monitors to submit regular glucose, blood pressure and weight readings. Approximately 110 patients are currently participating in the program, with a goal of 150 in the coming months. The pilot costs a little more than $200 per month per patient for the in-home monitors and supplies, but the expected costs savings from reduction in emergency department and hospital visits will offset these costs in the future. It’s estimated that by eliminating one emergency department visit per year per patient would cover the costs of this pilot!

Since launching the pilot, providers have experienced several successes including:

  • A community health center participating in the pilot has requested that more of their patients be enrolled based on the success of its patients to date.
  • When one practice began the pilot, they realized they previously hadn’t done a good job addressing the nutritional needs of their diabetic patients and hired a nutritionist to provide better education.
  • Another practice has begun utilizing the telemonitoring data as a tool for their patients’ office visits.
  • Three months after joining the pilot, a 71-year old diabetic female was able to reduce her glucose/HbA1C levels approximately 4% and was taken off of her diabetic medication by her primary care physician.

To learn more about the telemonitoring pilot from Elmwood Health Center, one of the participants, click here.

Making medical instructions easier to read and understand

WNY Beacon has partnered with Meducation to provide a Health 2.0 standalone web-based tool for health care providers to improve communication and generate patient centered medical instructions. Meducation generates medical instructions that are simpler, easier to read, easier to understand and in the patient’s preferred language. Medical instructions are available in 16 languages for non-English speakers, including four languages added by WNY Beacon to reflect refugee populations in our region. To date, nine practices and three pharmacies have begun using Meducation with their patients.

Improving medication history through transitions of care

In the U.S., more than 90,000 hospitalized patients experience medication errors annually and adverse drug events are the fifth leading cause of death in our country today. To improve patient care during health care transitions, WNY Beacon is preparing to launch a pilot featuring a real time alert system which would notify a primary care provider with updated medication history when his or her patient has been seen in the emergency department or discharged from a hospital or long term care facility. In addition, consulting pharmacists would perform a comprehensive medication review for high risk diabetic patients’ data and recommend any medication regime modification necessary for the patient to meet standard of care. The pilot is expected to launch late spring or summer.


WNY Beacon In the News


For more information on HEALTHeLINK, visit www.wnyhealthelink.com
or call: 716.206.0993 ext. 311


2568 Walden Ave., Suite 107 /  Buffalo, NY 14225
716.206.0993   //   www.wnyhealthelink.com

facebook contact us

HEALTHeLINK Link Man mascot