Reaching Excellence Together
Incorporate Health Information Technology
The region has taken a major step forward in integrating health information technology with the recent launch of HEALTHeLINK. Also, electronic medical records are seeing increased use by regional providers. Regional health care providers and policy makers should continue to support the implementation of health information technologies that could enhance the quality of patient-physician relationships and the delivery of coordinated care. This might include secure e-mail services for patient-provider communication and care follow-up, as well as other conveniences such as refilling prescriptions, scheduling appointments and getting test results. Online information resources could assist in delivering quality, evidence-based information to patients.
National Best Practice
What if, with the click of a mouse, patients could request appointments with their doctor, e-mail their physicians with questions, view test results, request a prescription refill, complete a medical profile or browse through a library of medical information about their health conditions?
MyGroupHealth, an online tool for members of Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative does just this. In addition to supporting more coordinated care and stronger patient-provider communication, the tool has paid dividends to this consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization. Tens of thousands of members use the tool, more than half of which say they stay with Group Health Cooperative because of the conveniences this tool provides.
Local Best Practice
HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York clinical information exchange, is a collaborative effort among various organizations to share clinical information in efficient and meaningful ways to improve the delivery of care, enhance clinical outcomes and help control health care costs in the region.
Among its initiatives is an effort to develop community-based virtual medical records and ePrescription, a tool for physicians to write, order and monitor prescriptions. Sponsoring HEALTHeLINK are the Catholic Health System, Erie County Medical Center Corp., HealthNow New York (BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York), Independent Health Association, Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Univera Healthcare and New York State. HEALTHeLINK stakeholders also include a broad representation of health care professionals and organizations throughout Western New York.