HEALTHeLINK enhances patient care and safety
A major key in reforming health care is technology. Electronic medical records (EMR) make access to important patient information easy for all doctors whether it is a primary care physician, specialist or an emergency room doctor. Well before talks of health reform legislation began to take shape, Independent Health teamed up with several local physicians, hospitals and insurance organizations to establish HEALTHeLINK, an online, secure, community-based network used by health care providers to improve the quality of patient care, improve the patients' health care experience and to lower the cost of care.
Independent Health's president and chief executive officer Michael W. Cropp, M.D. in collaboration with the CEO's of the region's other major health plans and hospital systems helped to found HEALTHeLINK in 2004. This clinical information exchange is a secure computer network that allows sharing of patient health information among providers, such as a physician's office and a hospital emergency room. An electronic medical record is simply a patient's health record that is stored electronically versus a paper file.
Many health care providers and professionals in Western New York are utilizing the information available to them on HEALTHeLINK. It gives them access to a patient's laboratory results, prescription drug history, and other critical medical information. Faster, thorough access to a patient's medical information translates into better clinical outcomes, increased professional collaboration for the identification and treatment of illness or injury, improved efficiency and lower costs, and overall improvement in the quality of patient care.
Patients have to consent to give their primary doctors, specialists, and other health care providers' access to the vital information they need to provide the best possible care. After a patient consents to allow HEALTHeLINK to share their information, doctors who are treating that patient can gain access to their specific health information.
HEALTHeLINK is a key community health program that helps eliminate waste, duplication of services and inefficiencies across the health system. Most importantly, it will result in better care for Western New York residents.
HEALTHeLINK continues to improve and expand while being recognized as a leader nationally. In May of 2010 by the Obama Administration's Health and Human Services recognized HEALTHeLINK and Western New York as one of 15 Beacon communities and the largest award of $16.1 million to continue and advance our work. The money will be used for expanding the use of electronic medical records in the Western New York region with a specific focus on diabetes care management across all levels of care.
Consent forms, information and frequently asked questions are available at wnyhealthelink.com.