NYeC Gala Optimistic on Future for Health IT: NY’s SHIN-NY 2020 Roadmap

sgruber-200 (1)By Sarianne Gruber
Twitter: @subtleimpact

“NYeC embodies a spirit of collaboration– public service and public work– together in the interest of public purpose that is all too rare in the US.”  David Blumenthal, MD, President, The Commonwealth Fund

“Without reservation, the purpose {of electronic health records} was to better the lives and work of physicians, nurses and all other healthcare professionals, and the care of patients. The focus I had then, and the same focus the New York eHealth Collaborative has in their work,” expressed Dr. David Blumenthal, the former National Coordinator for Health Information, to an audience of over 250 health leaders. Medical providers and hospitals were about to “undertake a very big lift” and with only a vision, Blumenthal had to let others see his insight on how the electronic health record would enormously enhance patient care and medical science.   Serving from 2009 to 2011, he led our healthcare system through the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and the meaningful use of health IT, and despite its disruption, succeeded in securing a nationwide health information system. The New York eHealth Collaborative  (NYeC) honored Dr. David Blumenthal, President of the Commonwealth Fund, with the Transformative Leadership Award at its 2017 Gala & Awards event held earlier this month.

NYeC welcomed guests to its Gala & Awards night at the historic art deco Edison Ballroom in the heart of New York’s theater district.  The converted theater heard applause for the 2017 honorees Eugene Heslin, MD, Paul Macielak, Esq., Patrick Roohan and James R. Tallon, Jr. for their contributions to the long-term success of the health information exchange, and Dr. David Blumenthal for his contributions to healthcare information technology. This year also marked the tenth anniversary of the Statewide Health Information Network (SHIN-NY).  Many accolades and kudos went to Valerie Grey, Executive Director, who in her first year proudly and excitedly released the SHIN-NY 2020 Roadmap. “This roadmap is really making sure the HIE continues to be a big public asset contributing every day to improving patient health and healthcare for our communities,” shared Grey.  She believes the full potential for the Health Information Exchange is yet to come. Gratitude was given to the Governor’s Office, the State Legislature, the New York Department of Health, and everyone for their continued support of the SHIN-NY.  She also echoed David Klein, Chair, Board of Directors for NYeC, with thanks to all the supporting organizations.

An Optimistic Future: Maximizing Benefits

Technology has made health information more available, accessible and useful. Yet, Blumenthal brought attention to a few catch-22s, which have made the transition a bit troubling for those dependent on it. He noted: (1) the EHR adoption inherently spurred a generational divide experienced by older physicians adjusting to new technology, (2) patient-accessed data remains underappreciated and un-championed, (3) the “perplexing” lack of interoperability among EHRs, and (4) the lack of user friendly EHRs. His optimism assures these problems will and can be resolved, and the answers lie in the technology’s incremental improvements. So far, we have witnessed the Federal government’s support of the 21st Century Cures Act. An increase in market incentives to exchange information, especially with the growth of value-based purchasing, followed by interoperability and information exchanges.  More disruptive and new entrants into vendor market to redesign EHR usability. And imagine health data being “liquid and available” by harnessing all national, even global, patient-accessed data.  “A vast new natural resource in the form of electronic health paper for the purpose of expert care and science. This has never happened in the history of man and the history of science,” smiled Blumenthal.

The 2020 Roadmap: The Last Mile to Success

In New York State, the NYeC is the official organization assigned to uniformly lead and coordinate the Statewide Health Information Network (SHIN-NY).  NYeC works closely with the New York State Department of Health and is funded by the federal HITECH Act, State Medicaid, and State Health Care Reform Act.  New York State is divided into eight Qualified Entities (QE) making up the “network of networks.”  Clinical information is shared via a statewide connector that supports the secure transfer of EHR data from participating providers across the state. The 2020 Roadmap is compromised five key strategies. An abridged version is highlighted below. For the complete document please click here.

Strategy 1. Ensure a strong statewide HIE foundation that will include: (1) expanding participation to physician practices, home care agencies, nursing homes, behavioral health providers and other healthcare facilities, (2) having a minimum data contribution of 20 data elements for a common clinical dataset compatible with the meaningful use dataset, and (3) performing cybersecurity assessments for each QE.

Strategy 2. Support value-based care and advocate patient-centric care with desired tools and services sanctioned by the State, providers, health plans and providers. Taking a “high-road” approach for patients and communities strengthens the network, funding as well as health outcomes.

Strategy 3. Enabling interoperability and innovation with a “home-grown” testing ground to create market-based solutions using the SHIN-NY’s own high-quality data. A performance-based contracting model would encourage new patient engagement and value-based care tools, HL7 pilots, blockchain technologies as well as artificial intelligence and natural language processing testing.

Strategy 4. Promote efficiency and affordability due to the significant variation in the cost structures from every eight QEs.

Strategy 5. Advocate collectively for the SHIN-NY and its stakeholders with communication initiatives on the benefits of the health information exchange.

To learn more about the New York eHealth Collaborate and its work on the SHIN-NY click here. https://www.nyehealth.org/

For a full report on the 2020 Roadmap click here.

Many thanks to Jesse Giuliani, Director of External Affairs, and his team for orchestrating a beautiful and memorable Gala & Awards event.