Medical records-sharing system ready for Halloween rollout

Capital Region medical practitioners are preparing to flip the switch on an electronic medical recor

Capital Region medical practitioners are preparing to flip the switch on an electronic medical records-sharing network they have spent nearly four years developing.

On Oct. 31, the Health Information Exchange of New York, or HIXNY, will start transmitting patients’ records and prescriptions between three Troy health care operations — Samaritan Hospital, Seton Health and Community Care Physicians.

HIXNY’s first three adopters — known as the “Troy Pilot” — have been exchanging test data for months. HIXNY had hoped the exchange would go live by last August, but the need for minor adjustments delayed its launch.

Since 2005, chief information officers at area hospitals, practices and health plans have been working together on the exchange. It promises to reduce medical errors by providing doctors with vital patient information regardless of where they are being treated.

“Now your health information is going to be at your doctor’s fingertips,” said HIXNY Chief Executive Officer Dominick Bizzarro.

HIXNY’s second wave of hospitals is expected to participate in the live exchange by December. They include Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam and Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs. Another wave of adopters, including Prime Care Physicians in Albany, will join the exchange in January.

HIXNY received a $4.6 million grant in March under the state Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers. With that funding, HIXNY will add laboratory data, discharge summaries, progress notes and image readings to the list of electronic records that can be sent over the exchange.

Before the exchange goes live, HIXNY needs the state Department of Health to finalize patient consent forms. The forms authorize medical practitioners to transmit electronic records within the network.

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