Posted on: February 7, 2018

Valerie Grey, Executive Director at NYeC


The vision is nothing if not ambitious: “a dramatically transformed healthcare system where health information exchange is universally used as a tool to make lives better.” Yet it’s precisely what the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) intends to achieve in its Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY).

NYeC has unveiled a blueprint for achieving that vision—and it promises to impact Hixny and its counterparts across the state in the years to come.

The SHIN-NY 2020 Roadmap builds on the considerable success that the network has achieved to date. According to the Roadmap report, peer-reviewed academic studies have repeatedly linked use of the SHIN-NY with a variety of encouraging results: 30 percent fewer emergency department (ED) admissions, 52 percent reduction in laboratory tests, and 25 percent fewer repeat images within 90 days of the original imaging procedure, to name three.

Developed from extensive stakeholder input, the new Roadmap clusters its aims around five key strategies:
  1. Ensuring a strong health information exchange (HIE) foundation across the state. Strength comes from participation and data completeness, which is why the Roadmap calls for every hospital in New York State, and 70 percent of all other providers, to participate in an HIE and contribute full data by 2020. (Hixny has already reached these participation rates in its service area.) In terms of cybersecurity, all entities within the SHIN-NY enterprise plan to achieve certification in HITRUST CSF—the most widely adopted security framework in the U.S. healthcare industry, according to the HITRUST website—by the end of 2018.
  2. Supporting value-based care. NYeC seeks to implement enhanced functionality, data and services—and secure consent forms from 95 percent of adult New Yorkers—to prepare the groundwork for value-based healthcare. Functional improvements could come in the areas
    of advanced alerts, single sign-ons and better integration with providers’ electronic health records (EHR) systems, among others.
  3. Enabling innovation and advancements. Central to this strategy is a pool to invest in technology and process innovations, with ideas to be submitted by Qualified Entities (QEs) like Hixny. The innovations could include anything from new patient engagement tools to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  4. Promoting efficiency and affordability. More SHIN-NY participants, and increased demand for data and services, will make efficiency a key to sustainability, according to the Roadmap report. Potential initiatives range from group purchasing and shared services to merger and acquisition.
  5. Advocacy for both the SHIN-NY and stakeholders. This includes showcasing accomplishments and positive academic studies as well as a coordinated effort to address the roadblocks to an ever-improving network.

The network will continue to be a vital public asset, improving the quality of patient care, reducing unnecessary healthcare expenditures and supporting an array of state policy objectives and initiatives.

While calling the entire 2020 Roadmap “purposefully ambitious,” NYeC Executive Director Valerie Grey emphasized the efficiency component as an area for special focus, given the ambiguity surrounding the future of healthcare in Congress.

“Our biggest challenge, most likely, is the general uncertainty of funding at the federal level and its potentially negative fiscal implications for New York State’s budget,” she said. “With that, it will be important for the SHIN-NY’s operations to be reexamined and value-engineered with an eye towards improved efficiency and affordability.”

The use of performance-based contracts, particularly between NYeC and each QE, will incentivize participants to push toward the goals and strategies outlined in the Roadmap. In building a strong HIE foundation, for instance, QEs will receive incentives for improving the level and quality of data contributed by their participants, Grey noted.

So what will the SHIN-NY look like if all these milestones are met? Grey envisions it as “a user-friendly, comprehensive clinical view of a patient, with functionality to support value-based care,” she said. “The network will continue to be a vital public asset, improving the quality of patient care, reducing unnecessary healthcare expenditures and supporting an array of state policy objectives and initiatives.”

Key to fulfilling the SHIN-NY vision is the performance of the eight QEs (including Hixny) that make up the SHIN-NY. “We expect that Hixny, and their QE counterparts, will continue their great work and build upon their existing foundations as we embark on this ambitious journey over the next few years,” Grey said. “Leadership, the sharing of best practices, and responsiveness to the needs of the network’s stakeholders will all be vital to the SHIN-NY’s success.”