Yet another state has jumped on the RHIO/HIE bandwagon . . .  
Government Technology reports that New York Health Commissioner Richard Daines announced today the launch of a statewide health IT program, which will include an initial $106 million investment to help health care facilities adopt IT tools in 2007 and 2008.  The IT program — part of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s (D) "Patients First" health care agenda — will help make patients’ medical records portable and establish an infrastructure to support clinicians in quality-based reimbursement programs.  Daines also requested that the new state Office of Health Information Technology Transformation and the not-for-profit New York eHealth Collaborative coordinate health IT program and policy collaborations across public and private sectors.  The plan for adopting an interoperable health information infrastructure should be available on the health department’s Web site once it is submitted to the Commissioner within 90 days. 

According the report printed in Government Technology, one of the key objectives driving the investment in IT include ensuring that patients’ health information remains private and secure, while supporting patients’ control over the personal health records.  Other objectives include:

  • Offering cost and quality information on payers and providers so consumers can make more informed decisions;
  • Using IT to improve the management of chronic diseases, community-based long-term care, public health surveillance and a certificate-of-need process;
  • Preparing for emergencies by allowing for the exchange of health information, including medications and lab test results; and
  • Increasing the use of telemedicine, remote monitoring devices and other applications to help clinicians and providers in rural and underserved areas

Helen’s HIPAA Hint : Providers, organizations and states exploring interoperable systems must be mindful of evolving “best practices” regarding privacy and security, and can learn from their predecessors’ successes and failures in this regard.