More healthcare professionals are receiving patient care alerts and increasingly performing related patient record queries through the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), according to a new report by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC).
The preliminary report looked at usage of query-based health information exchange in response to an event alert and used data from HEALTHeLINK, Healthix, and Rochester RHIO—three of New York’s eight regional health information exchange networks connected by and comprising the Statewide Health Information Network for New York. The study looked at patient care alerts trends and their role in expanding the usage of an additional SHIN-NY service, patient record queries. The SHIN-NY allows participating healthcare professionals, with patient consent, to quickly access electronic health information and securely exchange data statewide.
Researchers found that subscription alert services, where participating SHIN-NY providers receive real-time notifications when a patient is admitted to or discharged from a hospital or emergency department, increased by 95 percent from 2016 to 2017. At the same time, query-based exchanges prompted by alerts, where providers request patient records for more comprehensive information at the time they are needed, increased by 102 percent.
“This study demonstrates the SHIN-NY is working, usage is growing, and every day it is helping providers manage their patients’ care. Alerts and queries are free services offered to participating providers—we need everyone to get connected,” Valerie Grey, executive director of NYeC, said in a statement.
“We hear from our participant doctors every day and see more and more evidence as to how HEALTHeLINK and the SHIN-NY are working in support of better, more efficient patient care,” Dan Porreca, HEALTHeLINK executive director, said in a statement. “With our ability to alert providers of their patients’ admissions and discharges to healthcare facilities, including local emergency department visits in real time and the ability to query HEALTHeLINK to understand what happened with their patient during that visit, care coordination is enhanced greatly. They can also schedule timely and needed follow-up visits to review diagnoses and new medications with their patients, ultimately reducing the chance of future readmissions.”
“Our participants have come to rely upon clinical alerts for helping to manage patients with complex issues. To better support care management workflows, Healthix provides clinical summaries or CCDs with alerts, pushing data to providers so they receive the patient’s clinical history with the alert. This enables them to make real-time clinical decisions,” Tom Check, president and CEO of Healthix, said.
"Alerts directly support and impact transitions of care across our 13-county region and the whole of New York," Jill Eisenstein, president and CEO, Rochester RHIO, stated. "They help our Rochester RHIO partners take more immediate and beneficial actions, resulting in a higher degree of efficient and effective patient care.”
The report also analyzed how organizations across the care continuum utilized additional SHIN-NY services after receiving alerts. Long-term care, health homes, federally qualified health centers, and primary care clinics received the most alerts. Specialists had the highest rate of follow-up queries to search for patient records through the SHIN-NY.
The report, funded by NYeC and prepared by researchers at Indiana University Richard Fairbanks School of Public Health and Weill Cornell Medical College, compared data from the second quarters of 2016 and 2017. The study provides a baseline measurement to conduct additional research and gain a more comprehensive view of the value and role of alerts in providing clinicians with real-time information about their patients to support care coordination.
The next phase of the study will assess potential cost savings and patient outcomes with the usage of alerts and corresponding queries.