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HealtheConnections Has Achieved HITRUST Security Certification

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HealtheConnections is proud to announce that we have met HITRUST CSF v9.1 Certification criteria for the myConnections provider portal, NextGen/Mirth health information exchange (HIE), and supporting infrastructure, effective as of October 16th, 2018.

Not only have we satisfied the basic requirements, we’ve gone a significant step further meeting regulatory requirements to support Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Minimum Acceptable Risk Standards for Exchanges (MARS-E). Through this level of certification, we’re qualified to support the secure exchange of Medicare and Medicaid claims data. This opens the door for commercial payer claims.

In the healthcare industry, HITRUST is the gold standard in security framework, processes and controls. According to HealtheConnections’ President and CEO Rob Hack, this is an important accomplishment for HealtheConnections, demonstrating our commitment to support our growing user base and future growth plans at the highest level. 

HealtheConnections’ health information exchange has health records on 98% of all lives in Central New York being accessed and shared by 90% of the region’s providers and thousands of users per month. 

“Our participants, stakeholders and partners expect the best and respect the integrity of our team and our services,” says Hack. “We take our responsibility to protect this important information very seriously.” To learn more about HITRUST certification at HealtheConnections, please contact Karen Romano, Vice President of Corporate Support Services, at 315-671-2241.

Reduced Cost & Increased Productivity: Image Sharing with Transfer-to-PACS

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Providers can access and share clinical images easier than ever with the Transfer-to-PACS (TTP) solution offered through HealtheConnections. The Central New York HIE has been developing resources for healthcare providers to share medical images more efficiently throughout the region since 2010. We’re empowering providers to view diagnostic-quality medical images when and where they are needed with a single click, anywhere, anytime.

The TTP solution is unlike any other image platform currently available. Tightly integrated with HIE platforms, it automates one of the most cumbersome and costly burdens borne by patients and imaging service providers alike. Accessing and importing prior imaging studies from external providers is vital in the diagnosis and treatment of critical conditions like cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Users are finding success in the platform. “For years we have struggled to locate, import and reconcile external images, surgical and implant reports that are needed to diagnose and treat and safely scan our patients,” said Craig Pole, MR Safety Officer at Rome Memorial Hospital. “One of our biggest pain points has been dramatically reduced now that this onerous process has been automated through HealtheConnections.”

With Transfer-to-PACS, nearly 500 users in more than 20 HealtheConnections’ participating organizations now have the ability to transfer critically-important external medical images from other providers into their own imaging system. One click from the patient’s record replaces what might otherwise take several days or more, burden patients with chasing down imaging CDs from multiple locations, and waste vital clinical staff time exporting, importing and reconciling records from diverse locations –time that could be available for direct patient care. HealtheConnections participants are transferring more than 8,800 image studies per month, an increase of 600% since offering the service.

“The HealtheConnections’ Transfer-to-PACS option is our first source for outside images,” shares Jim Colone, Director of Ancillary Services at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists (SOS). “Our providers don’t want to view images from multiple outside sources on their viewers. HealtheConnections allows us to pull those images into our PACS that the doctors are familiar with. This makes the viewing and manipulation of images more efficient. Transfer-to-PACS allows us to see prior exams and to transfer only those pertinent to the patient’s musculoskeletal issue as opposed to having to import an entire CD that may have non-orthopedic studies on it.”

To learn more about the image exchange platform and how HealtheConnections’ participants are benefitting from Transfer-to-PACS, please contact HealtheConnections support at 315.671.2241 x5.

myConnections: A New Experience

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HealtheConnections’ is excited to introduce a new look for the myConnections HIE portal. This refreshed design offers a streamlined user experience letting our authorized users access the information they need in an easy-to-use, highly functional dashboard.

All the functions our users value are still easily accessible, like Patient Lookup, Alerts, Direct Mail, and we introduced some new features for 2018. Training materials, forms, user guides, featured videos, news, and more are now conveniently stored all in one place! Just click on the graduation cap on the left sidebar to access Training and Reference Materials. Much of this information has been on the HealtheConnections website, but we’ve made it available to users through the portal that they use every day. Users have commented that the layout is easy to use and navigate!

If you are an authorized user and haven’t logged in yet, click here to experience the new myConnections, or visit us at healtheconnections.org.

HealtheConnections Serves It Up in 2017

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HealtheConnections began 2017 on a high note with incredible momentum from the previous year. However, the HealtheConnections team and its marketing firm, MPW Marketing, knew more could be done. With a well thought-out strategy, the company embarked on a mission to reach providers as its primary objective and, along the way, educate patients and medical professionals alike on the benefits of the health information exchange (HIE).

A carefully targeted media mix spread the news about our star patient, Frank, and his family, showing how healthcare providers could use the HIE to directly benefit patients. Combined with a renewed focus within the company and efforts from the team, HealtheConnections surpassed its 800th participating organization. This represents over 1,200 site locations that are participating with and using HealtheConnections’ services.

Rolling out new features and functionality throughout 2017 didn’t hurt either. HealtheConnections introduced enhancements that sparked usage, including a recent change to Transfer-to-PACS (TTP) that allows users to view a history of transferred images.

All of this adds up to an explosion of numbers from last year, such as:

· An increase of 17% of physicians using HealtheConnections’ services

· Over 265 data sources contributing medical records, up 27%

· A 53% jump in active HIE users, looking up 58% more patients

· 81% more Clinical Summary Documents received in the HIE; More than 650,000 per month

· 550% increase of imaging studies accessed due to TTP

But, it doesn’t stop here for 2017…not just yet. HealtheConnections is serving up its final push of the year with a creative and very distinct idea that it expects will get some fence-sitters over the line – a pizza delivery! Cleverly designed pizza boxes with HealtheConnections’ statistics and services, along with an incentive to join, are being delivered to physician practices and other healthcare offices that the company has been working with for the past year but have not yet taken the extra step to enroll in the HIE. This unique end-of-year outreach is spearheaded by the Engagement Team to catch their attention and end this notable year with a strong finish in enrollment, participation, and data contribution.

Enhanced Alerting Now Available

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HealtheConnections Launches New Alerting Capabilities

Featuring Medication Adherence Alerting
HealtheConnections has enhanced functionality with a new alert for Medication Adherence.  In partnership with Kinney Drugs, an alert will be sent out when a patient does not pick up a prescription after 14 days.  This notification gives providers the opportunity to follow up with patients, as needed.  These alerts can be critical for patients with multiple and chronic illnesses that may depend on a daily medication – if they have not picked up their filled prescription, it enables a physician or case manager to be aware of the situation.  For patients with a short-term malady, taking a prescription in a timely manner may help put them on the path to wellness and prevent a prolonged health event or even a trip to the emergency room.  Medication adherence alerts are designed to give providers an insight into patients’ commitment to their health and will be available for more than 70 Kinney Drugs stores. 

Additional HealtheConnections alerting capabilities include:

myAlerts Dashboard Enhancements

  • Delegation: A user can be set up as a delegate to view a provider’s alerts.
  • Filtering: Allows the user to filter on the type of alerts to view on the myAlerts Dashboard. The user can select consent-based, provider-based, delegate-based, or subscription list alerts.
  • Selectable Date Range: The user can select start and end dates to limit the list of alerts for viewing.

Subscription List Alerting Enhancements

  • The National Provider Identifier (NPI) can now be submitted on the patient subscription list for the provider to receive alerts, without a patient’s affirmative consent if they have not consented “No”. This is allowable since there is an already established relationship between the patient and the provider.
  • Now available in daily digest format.

Click for the Alerts Training Manual , Alerts User Form and Delegation Form on the HealtheConnections website.

For more information, please contact our support team at (315) 671-2241 x 5 or support@healtheconnections.org

HealtheConnections Growing, Relocates to Franklin Square

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Company Growth and Development Prompts Move

HealtheConnections is pleased to announce its new office in historic Franklin Square. As an anchor tenant in Franklin Center, the firm occupies a beautifully renovated factory that was originally built in 1903 for the Clinton Knitting Company on lands referred to as the “old Salt Flats” in Syracuse. Formerly located in the State Tower Building on Warren Street in Syracuse, the regional health information technology and population health improvement firm relocated to allow more space to grow, a move that President and CEO Rob Hack sees as beneficial for the company and the community it serves. “It was important to stay a part of the vibrant resurgence in Syracuse,” Hack said, “and to be anchored in the middle of the Central New York region we serve. We wanted an employee-centric, interactive, and collaborative space that will support our continued growth and community partnerships.”

Hack indicated that the move to the new space is symbolic of the direction HealtheConnections is heading as a company. “Each day, we build upon the successes of the past with a strong focus on future innovation and improving valuable services,” he said. “And it starts with a positive working environment for our employees. Respecting the past, the space’s modern colors and contemporary furnishings provide a welcoming environment for its continued growth.” The company’s work is performed with community health and provider partners, and the hope is that this new environment will enable more effective collaboration both internally and externally. In its eighth year of operation, the company, with Hack as the first employee in 2010, has grown to 40 employees, adding several new positions each year.

HealtheConnections operates one of the state’s eight regional health information exchanges (HIE), working with health and healthcare delivery and support organizations throughout eleven counties in Central and Northern New York. Providing medical professionals with critical patient medical records and resources for improved patient care is the HIE’s ultimate goal, resulting in better health and care for the public. It is accredited through the NYS Department of Health as a qualified member of the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), and also currently supports New York State’s Prevention Agenda in conjunction with partner organizations to improve regional population health.

Over the last two years, HealtheConnections’ HIE has achieved exponential growth in usage and health data contribution, which is the backbone of its mission to improve the quality of care for patients, the communities they live in, and the efficiency of healthcare delivery for providers. Currently, there are 800 participating organizations including all area hospitals – 75% of the region’s providers use HIE services and 65% of them are contributing patient health records.

Hack is pleased to see this growth, and is determined to use that momentum to continue building relationships, developing valued services, and enhancing data quality for improved use. “We operate our business in an open, transparent and team-oriented way to deliver the best service to our participants and partners.” Hack says. “It’s the passion that drives us. There’s no question about the benefits of our health information exchange and population health improvement work, and we’ll continue to work hard to make sure we make a difference for the people living in Central New York.”

To learn more about HealtheConnections, visit their website at www.healtheconnections.org.

About HealtheConnections

HealtheConnections (pronounced “healthy connections”) delivers trusted and valued services, which support health care transformation and efficiency initiatives focused on achieving the triple aim of better care, better population health and lower health care costs. HealtheConnections provides health information exchange (HIE) services* and population health improvement support services for the 11 counties of the Central New York region. The name HealtheConnections represents our commitment to engage and collaborate with health care physicians, hospitals, public health, mental and behavior health and human services, and other health care providing entities, insurers, businesses and consumers to deliver regionally valued services and initiatives that support New York state’s health information exchange and population health improvement agendas.

*HealtheConnections is accredited by NYS Department of Health as a qualified participant of the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

Substance Use Disorder: Part 2 Data Accessibility Development

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HealtheConnections has developed a Substance Use Disorder protocol, commonly referred to as 42CFR or Part 2, for receiving and disclosing data through the health information exchange (HIE). With this new capability, authorized medical professionals are able to immediately view a patient’s information that may previously have been difficult to obtain, giving the provider a more complete picture of the patient’s needs and, ultimately, leading to better quality of care. This protocol is an initial implementation in New York State and HealtheConnections is proud to be one of the few HIEs in the country spearheading innovation in this sector.

In February of this year, a ruling at the federal level by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) prompted HealtheConnections to delve further into a problem that they have been attempting to address for the last five years – the regulation and implementation of protected health information regarding drug and alcohol abuse. Now, through collaborative guidance from SAMHSA, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), and New York State Office of Mental Health, HealtheConnections is able to offer a solution to its participants.

Part 2 data requires special provisions due to the sensitivity of its content. HealtheConnections is implementing the following provisions to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations:

  • Qualified Services Organization Agreement (QSOA) is in place between the Part 2 facility and HealtheConnections
  • HealtheConnections uses a facility tag to identify the Part 2 data
  • Treatment facility obtains a patient’s ‘Release to Disclose’ to HealtheConnections and only sends data for patients with affirmative consent
  • HealtheConnections participants obtain QE consent to access all the patient’s records through the HIE
  • HealtheConnections restricts access to Public Health and sPRL

HealtheConnections has developed a policy and the technical capability to meet regulations and allow authorized users to access Part 2 data when caring for a patient. This important information, available through the HIE, can give the practitioner a more comprehensive assessment of what the patient’s medical needs are.

Rob Hack, President and CEO of HealtheConnections, says he hopes that other HIEs will follow closely behind. “Our purpose is to provide the most holistic view of a patient to our healthcare professionals, and give them tools to assist in their decision-making process to provide care,” he says. “This is one more way we are able to do that.”

The capability will be made available to HealtheConnections’ users by October.

For further information, contact Karen Romano, Director of Operations at 315.671.2241 x250 or kromano@healtheconnections.org.

Popular News Program “Bridge Street” Features HealtheConnections

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Karen Romano, Director of Operations and Business Support, and Danielle Wert, Manager of Provider Engagement Services, sat down with reporters from News Channel 9 to talk about HealtheConnections’ mission and exactly how it works from both the patient and provider perspective.

HealtheConnections operates the health information exchange, or HIE, which organizes information for providers, allowing them to access the information they need when they need it. If a patient has consented, their doctor can view their medical records from locations across New York State at the time of care and have a more complete understanding of their needs. We serve over 750 organizations throughout our 11-county region in Central New York, and are consistently improving services and solutions to help our participants deliver the best care.

As reporter TeNesha Murphy says, it seems almost too good to be true, but we are proud to say that our technology is, in fact, available to providers at no cost and already improving healthcare.

Check out the full interview here:

HealtheConnections Seeks Gold Standard of Data Security Certification

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Certified Assessor BluePrint Healthcare IT to Support HITRUST CSF Certification Process

SYRACUSE, NY and CRANBURY, NJ — July 15, 2017 — HealtheConnections and BluePrint Healthcare IT (BluePrint) jointly announced they are partnering to achieve HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) Certification for HealtheConnections in accordance with the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF).

HealtheConnections operates one of the state’s eight regional health information exchanges (HIE), working with healthcare organizations throughout eleven counties in Central and Northern New York. As a HealtheConnections participant, authorized healthcare professionals are able to access critical patient medical records and resources securely and at no cost. HealtheConnections’ resources are enabling Central New York medical providers to achieve meaningful use and technology adoption, along with empowering the overall healthcare community to improve patient care through the use of health information exchange, community health data, and best practices.

“We take pride in continuous growth and development of new, innovative technologies to better support our participants,” said Rob Hack, President and CEO of HealtheConnections. “The HITRUST Certification is another layer of assurance that the information our healthcare professionals rely on is as secure as possible. It clearly demonstrates to all our stakeholders – the New York State Department of Health, all healthcare organizations in Central and Northern New York, and the 1.5 million patients we serve – that our security program is reliable.”

Currently HealtheConnections aggregates information from over 200 data sources, including valuable partnerships with the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and many medical organizations throughout the state of New York and beyond—as healthcare information technologies continue to develop, that number will only grow. Security is one of their top priorities.

Vikas Khosla, President and CEO of BluePrint Healthcare IT, highlights the growing trend, “Cyber threats and organized targeting of healthcare data are on the rise and the HITRUST CSF has become the “gold standard” for measuring and certifying security management programs. Because of the unique and paramount role that HealtheConnections plays in value-based, shared care, it’s prudent to adopt a scalable security framework that addresses the most widely trusted standards in cybersecurity.”

“We believed back then, as we do to this day, that a framework was needed in healthcare to establish a solid and clear foundation for a security management program,” said Khosla. With a sole focus on the security programs of healthcare organizations, BluePrint provides practical, real-world, implementable solutions for the expanding number of HIEs, Business Associates and Health Systems pursuing HITRUST certification.

HealtheConnections expects to pass the rigorous HITRUST Certification in 2018.

LabCorp Authorization Form Required to Share Data

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LabCorp requires authorization in order to release patient results to the Health Information Exchange (HIE). By sending this information to the HIE, patient records are updated with the most recent data, giving healthcare providers a more complete view of a patient’s medical history.

If your organization uses LabCorp’s services and would like to make your patient data available to other authorized healthcare providers through the HIE, sign and submit the LabCorp Authorization form below: