From Christina Galanis--What a Year for Growth!

January 17th, 2017 - HealthlinkNY added many participants, people, and features in 2016. It is leveraging its connections to multiple stakeholders to drive healthcare improvement.

We love to see our numbers go up, so we are pleased to see how much our participant list grew in 2016. We now have 42 hospitals in our 13-county service area participating with the HealthlinkNY Health Information Exchange (HIE), as well as all four Provider Performing Systems participating in New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP). 

Our reach has grown as well. We now connect two Guthrie hospitals in Pennsylvania, and are rapidly signing participation agreements with non-acute care settings, such as behavioral health entities, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies, among other organizations.

We have been especially busy in the Hudson Valley, where we have signed participation agreements with major players, including Montefiore Health Systems, WMC Health Network, CareMount Medical, Crystal Run, Hudson River Health Care, Middletown Community Health Center, and Refuah Health Center. We are now working closely with our new participants to train their clinicians and frontline staff to use the HIE and to collect patient consent.

New People and New Features

We are growing our capabilities and features as well. We have hired interface engineers to enhance the user experience, and expanded our account management and help desk support to offer more hands-on customer service and training. There has been an outpouring of new features, including provider alerts, results delivery, secure direct messaging, and we soon will have the ability to provide cross QE alerts to our participants.

Our exemplary Board of Directors deserves much of the credit for supporting and guiding our growth. Our board members include hospital leaders, health department officials, practicing physicians, payers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, leading IT consultancies, financial experts, and others. It is a broad representation of whom we serve: everyone who sustains the health and welfare of patients.

Thanks in part to the variety of viewpoints represented on our board, HealthlinkNY has been able to align the interests of private and public, clinician and non-clinician stakeholders. We have emerged as a vital hub of health information and improvement in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and the Southern Tier—witness the accomplishments of the HealthlinkNY Community Network, an initiative funded by a New York State Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP) grant. The program is collaborating with dozens of others to tackle non-medical detriments of health, such as poverty, lack of transportation, and the societal stigma of mental health.

I like to think of HealthlinkNY as a town square, where a community comes together to share ideas, discover opportunities, and help each other. We intend to put ideas into action, and begin to dive into data analytics, integrate clinician information with claims data and pharmacy records, and pave the way for a national HIE. When we started in 2005, the HIE was a dream. Today, it is reality. Only a lack of vision can limit what it might be tomorrow.

--Christina Galanis