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.