The New York State Department of Health and the NYeC are requesting $129 million in government funds to form the nation's largest EMR database.
New York State Department of Health and the public-private partnership NYeC (New York eHealth Collaborative) have
submitted a proposal to the federal ONC (Office of National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology) to launch what they say will be the nation's
largest electronic medical record network.
in 2006, NYeC works to drum up support for health care IT implementation in New
York state through funding and policy.
the health care providers in New York,
10 to 20 percent are connected to an HIE (health information exchange), David
Whitlinger, NYeC's executive director, told eWEEK. "100 percent adoption
is the goal," he said.
plan would involve $129 million funded from both the state and federal
government to build SHIN-NY (the Statewide Health Information Network for NY),
an EMR network for New
York. The database would allow doctors to share
patient records from multiple physicians.
look forward to working with NYeC and other state programs to create this
network and establish rules that will make electronic medical records secure,
accessible and helpful to the many stakeholders all around the state."
Rachel Block, New York state's
deputy commissioner of health IT transformation, said in a statement.
network would link 12 regional EMR networks
within the state and let New York
patients and health care providers access medical histories, lab results,
prescription information and diagnoses.
The state and NYeC submitted their EMR
proposal to the ONC
within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Oct. 26.
EMR network would be rolled out in phases
every several months between the middle of 2011 and 2014.
York health officials expect the new EMR
network to exceed the size of that of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
and other states.
Broader shared access to EMR networks
means quicker access to medical information in the doctor's office or in the
emergency room. This information could be key to survival, especially when
patients have pre-existing conditions, such as allergies to medications,
"Having this information can mean the difference between life and death,"
said Eugene Heslin, a practicing New York
physician and board member of NYeC, in a statement.
Heslin describes a situation in which EMR
access can be essential to saving a life:
"One night I received a call at 3 a.m.
alerting me that an 89-year-old patient was in the emergency room experiencing
shortness of breath and disorientation. From my computer at home, in the middle
of the night, I was able to pull up his list of medications and discover that
they did not match the list he had given paramedics."
By accessing the EMR database, Heslin
learned that the patient took his wife's medication by mistake. "Without
electronic medical records, I may have made the wrong diagnosis and not been
able to treat my patient quickly and effectively, possibly saving his
life," Heslin recalled.
A statewide network would also help pharmacists who can't read doctors'
handwritten prescriptions, Whitlinger noted. The EMR
platform will allow doctors to prescribe medication electronically.
plan is very comprehensive, and we're looking forward to working with all the
stakeholders and many of the software vendors to make this succeed,"
Whitlinger said. "We're looking to hire rapidly to meet the challenges of
the plan so we can hit the ground running in early January."
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.