New York City Puts E-Health Records Online For 200,000 Patients - InformationWeek

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2/26/2008
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New York City Puts E-Health Records Online For 200,000 Patients

City leaders say their initiative has created the largest community based e-health records network in the United States and can serve as a national model.

New York City leaders have unveiled an electronic health records initiative that they say will set a new standard for health care throughout the United States.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden said the city's e-health records program is well on its way to equipping more than 1,000 providers and creating the country's largest community-based e-health records network. Bloomberg said that 200,000 New Yorkers currently benefit from the technology deployed by more than 200 primary care providers.

"In Washington, they talk about how our health care system should be reformed; here in New York City, we are actually doing it," Bloomberg said during a news conference Monday.

Frieden emphasized how the system helps prevent disease. "By giving doctors and patients the tools to better manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, we can prevent thousands of strokes, heart attacks, and early deaths," he said.

The New York City Health Department's Primary Care Information Project uses eClinicalWorks' software, which promotes prevention. It developed the e-health records and offers subsidized software and services to primary care providers with more than 30% of their patients on Medicaid or uninsured. The packages include licensing, onsite training, data interfaces, and two years of maintenance and support.

The primary care givers must pay for hardware and network infrastructure and contribute $4,000 to the Fund for Public Health in New York for ongoing technical support.

The Health Department also helps other practices integrate the prevention tools into their own e-health records.

City leaders said that the prevention tools integrate patient health history, lab results, and current medications; improve follow-up care by sending patient reminders; increase preventative screenings by reminding physicians to perform them during routine exams; and decrease the risk of adverse drug reactions by tracking prescriptions and flagging potential interactions.

They also provide charts and graphs for tracking blood pressure and cholesterol; outline the most effective drug treatments and doses for various ailments; provide instant referrals; send prescriptions electronically or by fax. They track patient medication use and identify those who need help following prescription instructions. Finally, they monitor the quality of preventive and compare results among doctors and practices

A $3.2 million grant from New York State supports the e-health records initiative and $5 million in funding from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality help evaluate it.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines said electronic health programs must align with the State's proposals to link reimbursement to quality outcomes.

"New York State is also funding a statewide health information network so that no matter where a patient is seen in New York, an authorized physician will have access to that patient's electronic health record," he said. "This represents a breakthrough for patients and doctors."

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