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Kate Monica

The regional health information exchange leveraged funding to engage more providers in health data exchange.

More than 60 healthcare providers throughout the greater Rochester area are contributing patient EHRs to Rochester RHIO after receiving grants from a New York grant program, according to the Monroe County Post.

The grant from the Data Exchange Incentive Program (DEIP) is being used to offset setup costs for enrolling additional providers and patient health records into the regional health information exchange (HIE).

The DEIP was established in 2017 by the New York State Department of Health (DOH), with support from CMS. The grant program was launched to increase HIE adoption across the state. The New York eHealth Collaborative coordinates the programs and awards incentive payments on behalf of DOH.

“Hundreds of health care organizations were already sharing patient information, but as extensive as that data was, records were still not complete in many instances,” said Rochester RHIO President and CEO Jill Eisenstein. “With the help of DEIP, we’ve expanded our data sources to include groups such as skilled nursing facilities and diagnostic treatment centers.”

Rochester RHIO is one of eight qualified entities (QEs) part of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY). Organizations can add patient health data such as medications, lab test results, care plans, procedures, and other health information to offer providers a more comprehensive view of patient health spanning multiple care settings, facilities, and care teams through RHIO’s Contribute service.

Contribute allows providers to share patient data in the form of C-CDAs through provider EHR systems. Utilizing the Contribute service to add new patient health information to the exchange helps to enable better-informed clinical decision-making and improve care coordination.

Hospitals, healthcare organizations, private practices, and ambulatory care sites can gain access to this data with patient consent.

“By having a more complete digital record of care for each patient, health care providers can make more informed decisions,” Eisenstein said. “We’re looking forward to helping even more health care organizations connect, especially with the financial assistance from New York state.“

Increasing the number of providers contributing patient EHRs to the regional HIE will allow Rochester RHIO to provide a more complete view of patient health to each patient’s treating physician and care team. The grant supports the HIE’s mission to support high quality patient care across the community through the use of clinical data.

Grants from the DEIP can be used to build EHR interfaces that connect with QEs to increase the quantity and quality of data in SHIN-NY. The grant program was designed to help offset the costs of connecting to QEs for healthcare organizations by offering incentivizes to healthcare organizations that share a pre-defined set of data elements with other providers.

Two other New York-based HIEs part of SHIN-NY recently entered into a strategic partnership to boost HIE use among area providers.

HealthlinkNY and HealtheConnections partnered earlier this month after months of collaboration. HealthlinkNY first announced its decision to seek a strategic partner in 2017. Together, the two QEs cover 43 percent of providers across New York.

Prior to announcing its strategic partnership, HealthLinkNY stated its disapproval for another SHIN-NY QE that planned to expand its HIE services into HealthlinkNY’s territory.

Hixny planned to extend into nine additional counties over an 18 month period, stating health data exchange in those areas “historically lags.”

Several medical centers and clinics in regions covered by HealthlinkNY signed participation agreements with Hixny.

According to HealthlinkNY Executive Director Staci Romeo, Hixny’s expansion into territories covered by HealthlinkNY were the result of a “case of sour grapes after being passed over during our search for a strategic partner.”

HealthlinkNY covers 13 counties in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and the Southern Tier.