Our primary responsibility over the past year has been to continue supporting the efficient sharing of information among providers overwhelmed by an ongoing pandemic. For Hixny, though, that hasn’t just involved working with our public health and inpatient COVID care users. It’s meant ensuring that every provider and every patient accessing Hixny gets the information they need when they need it. Here are a few steps we’ve taken toward that goal.
Enhanced: Patient Record Snapshot
The patient record snapshot launched in 2020 to present a patient’s current and past health history in a meaningful, actionable way in both our provider portal and, with the same view, in electronic health records (EHR) systems. It’s now available to Cerner and Epic users and requires implementation support from Hixny.
What it’s become is the core means of interacting with Hixny through EHRs—an essential tool for managing the care of patients that presents providers with information they need to know—and that they may not realize they need to know.
The snapshot gives providers an overall view of a patient’s health, saving time and clarifying what information is available to inform care. In addition to expanding what information is available, we’ve focused on usability to allow providers to get more information more quickly.
Don’t have the snapshot app?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the growing list of EHRs supporting the snapshot and for assistance to activate the app in your system.
The feedback we’ve had from our first snapshot EHR implementation partner, Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, has been, as one staff member says, “Amazing!” After implementing the snapshot through the Cerner EHR app store, viewing of records through Hixny at Ellis increased by 500 percent in the first six months.
Launched: Patient-Directed Notifications
This year, a federal interoperability and patient access rule required hospitals to provide a way for patients to direct notifications to other providers—about serious events, admission, or inpatient stays. The goal is to give patients some control, while ensuring that the notification reaches the right provider to coordinate follow-up care, a condition intervention and further communication with the patient.
As has long been the case, the patient can indicate the providers whom they would like to be notified of their hospital visit during registration. The hospital then uses Hixny to notify those providers about the visit.
Hixny has also created a second, optional system to support this process. When a patient has one of the defined visits at a facility that has opted in, Hixny sends the patient a notification that allows them to directly select providers to receive related information. From there, Hixny send the information to those providers as an alert or through the network, whichever the provider prefers.
These notifications provide reassurance for patients that their information will reach the right care team without requiring multiple manual steps to make that happen. The providers, in turn, have more chances to engage the patient and to intervene at critical points. As a result, the notifications serve as a catalyst for consulting the patient’s records and for collaborating across the patient’s care team.
Achieved: NCQA Revalidation
In 2020, Hixny took part in a pilot program with NCQA, the accrediting organization for health plans, to verify that the data providers shared through Hixny was of sufficient quality for health plans to use in aggregate when completing their annual HEDIS quality-of-care reports. This year, we successfully achieved data aggregator validation once again.
In simple terms, this process validates the accuracy and completeness of the data provided by Hixny to the health plans by verifying that this data matches what exists in contributing providers’ EHRs.
Using Hixny to gather this information saves time and money for both health plans and providers during the annual four-month HEDIS evaluation period. New York State has also approved health plans’ use of Hixny year ‘round to pull information that they can use to coordinate the closing of gaps in care, which also leads to a community-wide improvement in care quality.
New providers connecting to Hixny go through a mock primary source verification during the onboarding process, so they have the opportunity to improve the quality of data they contribute before they are part of a live revalidation effort. Existing providers should know that, when Hixny calls each summer to request a data sample, responding quickly saves significant time and improves the ongoing usefulness of the data they submit.
Added: Emergency Services Data
In 2021, New York State directed funds through its data exchange incentive program to help emergency medical services (EMS) providers connect to health information exchanges like Hixny.
As a result, 29 EMS agencies serving a broad swatch of our region, including remote areas in the northern part of the state, began sharing data this year. The Zoll EMS records system vendor worked closely with Hixny for more than six months to allow the information to flow. Then, once our pilot partner, the Clifton Park & Halfmoon Emergency Corps, came online in mid-July, it took less than a month for the rest of the agencies to connect from the same platform.
EMS data is critical to patient care, since it not only represents the first touch—or the only touch if the patient isn’t transported, but often includes details about events surrounding the patient’s acute need for care. However, EMS providers and records vendors use a different data set (NEMSIS) than traditional providers. In addition to standard vitals and care information, it records details such as drug paraphernalia found on scene. We worked with Zoll to map data from their system to ours, and to preserve additional facts in a PDF that providers can view through Hixny to gain a full account of a patient’s circumstances and EMS treatment.
Going forward, we plan to connect large EMS agencies that use customized versions of the Zoll system, and then to connect additional vendors. The connected agencies have expressed great interest in accessing Hixny information, so we will also be working with them to determine how to gather consent.