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HEALTHeLINK HIE Sees Increase in Population Health Data Sharing

HEALTHeLINK, the HIE for Western New York, offers a population health tool that supports data sharing between participating providers and payers.

HEALTHeLINK, the health information exchange (HIE) for Western New York, worked on a total of 83 different projects in 2021 focused on improving data sharing for use cases such as population health management, according to the HEALTHeLINK 2021 Report to the Community.

“HEALTHeLINK continues to support Western New York hospitals and provider organizations through its core services, including results delivery, alert notifications, patient record lookup, and patient encounter data to improve quality of care,” Anthony J. Billittier IV, MD, FACEP, chair of HEALTHeLINK Board of Directors, wrote in the report.

In 2021, participating HIE providers utilized patient record lookup more than 6.5 million times to instantly access a consenting patient’s EHR data, the report noted.  

Additionally, the HIE delivered more than 950,000 clinical results, such as lab tests and radiology reports and images, to providers monthly. Officials said that this marks a 10 percent increase over 2020.

“Understanding the unique role HIE has within our local healthcare structure, HEALTHeLINK is working to deliver data needed for value-based care, social determinants of health, and population health initiatives,” said Billittier, who also serves as executive vice president and chief medical officer of Independent Health.

The HIE saw increased utilization of its community population health tool, HEALTHeOUTCOMES, which leverages HIE data and claims data from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, Independent Health, and Univera Healthcare.

“We are very excited about our expanding population health program and technology,” noted Daniel Porreca, executive director of HEALTHeLINK. “HEALTHeOUTCOMES supports quality measure calculations and has been utilized for Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) and other quality improvement programs between payer and provider organizations.”

The HIE also focused on patient immunization data sharing efforts in 2021 to help providers and public health officials track COVID-19 vaccination progress.

“The pandemic reinforced that having immediate, secure access to crucial clinical information cannot be overstated; it’s key to providing safer, more cost-effective care that is good for everyone in our community,” Billittier said.

Through partnerships with New York State Department of Health and the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), the HIE leverages daily data feeds from the New York State Immunization Information System to enable alert notifications for COVID-19 vaccinations. Over 5.48 million COVID-19 vaccination alerts were sent to participating providers in 2021.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve learned that the efficacy of HIE is enhancing our collaboration with a broad range of healthcare organizations across Western New York,” said Porreca.

“Nothing demonstrated this more than our support of public/county health departments during the pandemic, the expansion of our support services for practice and provider organizations, and the utilization of population health tools,” he added.

Porreca emphasized that as the healthcare landscape evolves, the HIE will continue to focus on improving patient care through a health IT infrastructure that provides participating healthcare organizations with the clinical information they need when they need it.

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