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May 18, 2016

Patient Alerts Now Available to Participating Providers through Regional Health Information Organizations in New York State

The Regional Health Information Networks (“Qualified Entities” or “QEs”), such as HEALTHeLINK in Western New York, will now offer subscription based “Alerts” to providers participating in a QE’s health information exchange. An “Alert” is “clinical data that is transmitted via an automated event notification that is generated following an occurrence of an emergency department admission, in-patient admission, hospital discharge, death, or other event that indicates a change in a patient’s health or treatment status. Providers that participate in a QE, such as HEALTHeLINK*, can sign up to receive Alerts for patients that receive treatment from the provider. This means for example, that a primary care doctor whose practice is in Buffalo, New York, will receive an Alert when his or her patient is admitted to a hospital emergency department anywhere in the eight counties of Western New York. The Alert system is consistent with the requirements for “minimum core services” under guidance approved by the NYS Department of Health (“DOH”) for the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (“SHIN-NY”).

There is no fee associated with the service; however, the provider’s practice is required to keep the patient list updated on a regular basis. The practice is also responsible for any implementation costs, though most current electronic medical record products are “interoperable” with a QE’s technology, resulting in little, if any, up-front cost to the practice.

The New York eHealth Collaborative, which coordinates the eight (8) QEs in New York State, is in the process of overseeing the implementation and documenting the paperwork necessary for Alerts to be sent/received on a statewide basis. Once the statewide network becomes operational (later this year), the Alert in the above example will be delivered to the Buffalo based patient’s primary care physician, whether the emergency department admission occurs in Binghamton, the Bronx, or Bethpage.

For Alerts (as with all QE services) DOH requires strict compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and DOH Privacy and Security Policies & Procedures, including those that became final in March, 2016.

* HEALTHeLINK is a QE that currently offers the Alert service for its eight (8) county region of Western New York. HealtheConnections, the RHIO serving the 13 counties of Central New York, offers the Alert service as well. Other QEs in New York State are at different stages of readiness for offering Alerts.


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