HealthlinkNY Makes Sure Your Medical Records Are Not Lost in Translation from One Healthcare Setting to Another
Anyone who has ever tried to connect a wireless printer to a home network, or added a new program that doesn’t work with an older computer operating system, should understand why connecting individual healthcare organizations to a centralized health information network can be challenging. But with the right technical know-how and support, providers can use the HealthlinkNY Health Information Exchange (HIE) to save time while improving the patient experience and reducing costs.
HealthlinkNY, whose HIE covers the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Southern Tier of New York, now is boosting its support for the rapidly growing number of providers that are participating in HealthlinkNY. It has reorganized its staff and shifted responsibilities to offer increased support to providers so it’s easier for them to access and contribute their patients’ records to the HIE.
“We want to make sure every provider’s connection to the HealthlinkNY HIE is working smoothly, that the necessary data fields can be exported and accessed no matter what electronic health record system is used by the provider,” explains Staci Romeo, Interim Executive Director of HealthlinkNY. “Otherwise, the information is lost in translation, and one system can’t understand what another system sends, and nothing can be accomplished.”
With the patient’s consent, the HIE enables all of a patient’s providers—hospitals, specialists, nursing homes, mental health practices, and others—to securely access the patient’s complete medical records. Currently, HealthlinkNY has close to 300 different provider organizations participating in the HIE. More than 1.2 million patients have given their consent to make their records accessible in the HIE to all their healthcare providers.
Since Mrs. Romeo took the helm of HealthlinkNY on January 1st of this year, she has made significant organizational changes, which include:
Flattening the organization by elevating a number of individuals to senior managers reporting directly to Mrs. Romeo;
Beefing up its technology team. The new position of project management officer was created to help project coordinators connect providers to the HIE more quickly and efficiently; two people are now assigned to data analytics to provide more population health services; and HealthlinkNY has brought in consultants to boost the number of interface engineers—the ones who design HealthlinkNY’s user experience—from one to three.
Increasing the number of workflow specialists from one to two to help integrate HealthlinkNY into a participant’s workflow, educate clinicians about its use, and train support staff on how to collect patient consents; and
Adding HealthlinkNY’s help desk team to the technology team supervised by the chief information officer.
“By making these and other changes, HealthlinkNY will enhance its ability to integrate HIE use into a provider’s workflow; train staff to collect patient consent to make their records available in the HIE; develop more HIE services and functionalities to providers; safeguard patient data; and improve data quality,” Mrs. Romeo says.
Providers are encouraged to contact HealthlinkNY at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 844-840-0050.
HealthlinkNY is a Qualified Entity (QE), funded by the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH), which operates the Health Information Exchange (HIE) connecting providers and patients in 13 counties in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Southern Tier of New York. The HealthlinkNY HIE offers electronic access to patients’ community-wide health records and serves as the region’s access point to the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), supporting collaboration between healthcare providers across the state. As the region’s hub of health information and improvement, HealthlinkNY supports healthcare delivery reform (DSRIP) and fosters collaboration among public and private health plans. Through the HealthlinkNY Community Network, the organization also operates population health improvement programs (PHIPs) in the Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier of New York.
The HealthlinkNY HIE allows all of a patient’s participating providers to safely and securely access the patient’s medical records with the patient’s consent throughout New York State. With HealthlinkNY, providers have a clearer picture of their patient’s health history, including primary care visits, hospital records, discharge orders, ER visits, specialist consultations, lab and imaging reports, behavioral health services, long-term care records, and home care visits.