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SEFCU joins health information exchange

A federal credit union is the first business to join a local health information exchange.

Hixny, or Health Information Xchange of New York, announced this week that SEFCU has joined its network. Based in Latham, Hixny began as a way to tie all of the disparate patient information across the region's hospitals, health plans and medical providers into one comprehensive, secure patient record. Today, when a patient is checked into an emergency room, the attending doctor can check into Hixny's network to see that patient's records from their specialist, primary care physician and so forth. The end result is better, faster delivery of care.

Most of Hixny's members and participants are entities in the health care industry (hospitals, health plans, pharmacists, physicians). Having a business sign on as a member is unusual, though not without explanation.

In 2009, Hixny worked with Center for Economic Growth President F. Michael Tucker to gain a better understanding of the business community's concerns and needs when it comes to lowering health care costs. After all, the number two expense for employers after salaries is health care. This led to the creation of Hixny's "employer class" — members who don't get access to the Hixny network of patient records but whose business mission aligns with Hixny's mission for lower health care costs.

“SEFCU shares our mission of better coordination of care and reducing healthcare costs in our community,” said Hixny CEO Mark McKinney. “We are looking for the right companies, like SEFCU, which are committed to improving the health of not only their employees, but of the greater community as well.”

In 2014, Hixny hopes to add more regional businesses to its employer class. More than 62 percent of health care providers in Hixny's region are connected to its network and feeding it data. This is much higher than the the national average of providers hooked up to health information exchanges, which comes in at 2 percent.

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