Health information exchange set to begin testing

A three-year effort to break down the walls that hinder Capital Region medical practitioners’ abilit

A three-year effort to break down the walls that hinder Capital Region medical practitioners’ ability to review patient information will soon enter the testing phases.

The Health Information Exchange of New York will start sending test data across its network later this month — a prerequisite to the regionwide sharing of prescription, laboratory and other electronic information over a secure Web-based platform. By August, HIXNY expects at least four of its 21 members to launch a new era of medical information exchange in the region.

“What HIXNY does is it enables the mobilization of health care information” across medical organizations, said HIXNY CEO Dominick Bizzarro.

By enhancing medical facilities’ interoperability, health care officials hope they can supply doctors with vital data immediately. That data should reduce the likelihood of errors due to medical decisions made with incomplete information. To obtain that information, doctors must currently call neighboring hospitals and have documents faxed to them.

“If we put better information in physicians’ hands quickly, they’re going to be able to make better decisions,” said Bizzarro, who took the top seat at HIXNY last month. He previously held executive positions at Enfrastructure Technologies in Clifton Park and PharMerica in Tampa, Fla.

Preparation for the clinical information exchange started in 2005, when chief information officers at six area hospitals, practices and health plans formed a task force charged with coordinating the interoperability effort. A year later, the state Department of Health awarded HIXNY a $1.7 million grant to create the clinical information data exchange.

The early adaptors of the HIXNY system will be Northeast Health and Seton Health in Troy, Prime Care Physicians in Albany and Community Care Physicians in Latham. They will be followed by Ellis Hospital and St. Claire’s Hospital in Schenectady, Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs and St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam.

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