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The New York eHealth Collaborative has chosen MedAllies to operate its Direct Solution secure email for the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).
Direct protocols enable healthcare providers to easily send data, such as referrals or lab reports, from one provider directly to another who is caring for the same patient.
MedAllies, which offers electronic health record and health information exchange services, used the specifications and technical descriptions developed by the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup, which includes 14 states and 33 EHR and HIE vendors.
The New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) formed the group to merge similar efforts with other states to create economies of scale and a consistent set of interoperability specifications.
For example, the group assures interoperability when members create their own NwHIN Direct products and services that it is consistent with guidelines from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Direct Project.
Direct uses a streamlined version of the standards, services and policies of the nationwide health information network (NwHIN).
For New York, this means that when products, like the Direct Solution, meet the interoperability workgroup standards, they will be ready to function "out-of-the-box" on the statewide network, said David Whitlinger, NYeC executive director, in a Sept. 19 announcement.
This core service will benefit patients and providers across the state, where many are small independent practices, and is a huge step for SHIN-NY, he said. “Imagine the patient with a chronic condition, struggling to keep all of their care coordinated as they visit specialist after specialist. Direct can eliminate that struggle by connecting all of those caregivers in a single loop,” he said.
Direct creates a round-trip referral, which is important to high-quality care, said Dr. Ferdinand Venditti Jr, vice dean for clinical affairs at Albany Medical College. “It sufficiently and effortlessly gets the patient and their information to the specialist physician and then gets the information back to the primary care physician, once the specialist has consulted on the patient," he said, calling it “the holy grail of consultative medicine.”
SHIN-NY will offer two other services statewide in addition to Direct Solution. Patient Record Look-Up functions like a secure search engine, allowing only those providers for which a patient has consented to access their health information. Alerts enables providers to subscribe to a function that alerts them when data is posted about their patients.
For example, it would let a primary care provider know his or her patient has just been admitted to an emergency department.