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HEALTHeLINK offers syndromic surveillance reporting service to NYS Department of Health | Health

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HEALTHeLINK offers syndromic surveillance reporting service to NYS Department of Health
HEALTHeLINK offers syndromic surveillance reporting service to NYS Department of Health

In partnership with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), HEALTHeLINK, Western New York’s clinical information exchange, launched an automated syndromic surveillance reporting service for its hospital partners.  Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville became the first facility to submit its syndromic surveillance data to NYSDOH via this method. Syndromic surveillance data is used to detect outbreaks and monitor disease developments. This project is the result of a Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL)-supported initiative to enhance the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY) for electronic information exchange between Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) and NYSDOH.

“Utilizing a RHIO such as HEALTHeLINK to implement functionalities like the new automated syndromic surveillance reporting, streamlines and improves efficiency with how hospitals communicate with NYSDOH,” said Daniel Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK. “Working collaboratively with the public health systems allows for decreased reporting burdens for the hospital providers, while increasing access to clinical information for public health agencies to improve their ability to respond to potential outbreaks and react appropriately and in a timelier manner.”

New York State health care providers (outside of New York City) are required by law to report all syndromic surveillance data to NYSDOH’s Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System. With this new automated web service, HEALTHeLINK can collect the required syndromic surveillance information from existing hospital admissions, discharge, and transfer transactions and securely transport this information to NYSDOH without any actions by the submitting facility. Previously, facilities had to use a separate system to upload the file to NYSDOH.

“Jones Memorial is a small, rural hospital with limited resources and the opportunity provided by this collaboration helped us reach one of our Meaningful Use goals well ahead of schedule,” said Alicia Johnson, director of IT at Jones Memorial. “It was a pleasure working with HEALTHeLINK; we appreciate the assistance they provided and look forward to working with them on similar initiatives that may arise.”

HEALTHeLINK is continuing to implement this new functionality at its other participating hospitals. In addition, the syndromic surveillance reporting service also supports a hospital’s achievement of Meaningful Use Stage 1 and Stage 2 public health objectives.  HEALTHeLINK and NYSDOH are coordinating efforts with other interested New York State RHIOs to make this functionality available to providers across a broader geography.

“New York State has made an unprecedented investment in our statewide infrastructure and collaborative governance efforts to enable widespread, interoperable health information exchange,” said Shannon Kinnear, director of programs for Division of Health IT Transformation, NYSDOH. “Leveraging these existing connections between hospitals and RHIOs provides an additional return-on-investment by improving the quality, timeliness and efficiency of public health reporting, providing the opportunity to mobilize public health investigation and response capabilities prior to disease and outbreak confirmation.”

Syndromic surveillance reporting is just one of four public health use cases currently being implemented between HEALTHeLINK and NYSDOH. Other use cases include the ability for a provider to submit immunizations administered, request a child’s immunization history, and for hospitals to report newborn bloodspot screening information to NYSDOH’s Wadsworth Lab and receive lab screening results electronically.  

About HEALTHeLINK:  HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, is a collaboration among the region’s hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers to serve the eight counties of western New York State. HEALTHeLINK was created to enable the exchange of clinical information in secure and meaningful ways to improve both efficiency and quality, while also helping to control health care costs. Patients who provide consent allow physicians and providers directly involved in their treatment to securely access relevant medical information via HEALTHeLINK, resulting in more timely and effective treatment at the point of care.

HEALTHeLINK has been recognized for its work in building a regional health information technology infrastructure and for testing innovative approaches by both state and federal agencies, including being named a Beacon Community, an effort funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. For more information about HEALTHeLINK, please visit www.wnyhealthelink.com.

About Jones Memorial Hospital: Jones Memorial Hospital is a 70-bed, full service, acute care facility serving all of Allegany County and western Steuben County, New York as well as northern Potter County, PA.  The hospital also provides a primary care network with sites throughout the county. Jones Memorial is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient services, including medical imaging, rehabilitation services, cardiopulmonary services, laboratory, obstetrical and surgical services. For more information, please visit the JMH website: www.jmhny.org or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/JMHNY.




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