HealtheConnections Continues Support of Public Health Initiatives Through Collaborative Partnerships

Recently, HealtheConnections demonstrated its ongoing commitment to supporting public health work through two collaborative efforts. The first involved a community project with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health. The project aimed to create a dashboard of hospitalizations and emergency (ED) visits involving opioid overdoses in Westchester County.

The dashboard directly aids the county’s Opioid Response and Overdose Prevention Initiative (ORI), created in response to a rise in overdose deaths in Westchester County during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. By utilizing HealtheConnections’ data, the county was able to pinpoint opioid overdose hot spots and trends and identify communities with the greatest need for overdose support.

Several years ago, HealtheConnections built a similar opioid hospitalization report for Oneida County. The new Westchester County dashboard builds from that original solution but presents the data differently by focusing on weekly patterns, allowing the County to examine trends and hot spots that weren’t as easily discernable from the previous version.

Counts of hospitalizations and ED visits in the previous week will be presented by zip code, age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Once fully implemented, the report will also be made available to other interested counties.

Since ORI was founded earlier this year, its other efforts have already materialized positive results. Naloxone education has increased across the county, especially within local law enforcement departments, emergency medical services, and the general community. Medication Assisted Treatment has also expanded to increase access to substance use disorder treatment. 

Secondly, along with other RHIOs, NYeC, the NYSDOH, and external advisors, HealtheConnections is participating in the SHIN-NY Public Health Workgroup. The group aims to support State and local health departments across New York. Our goal is to protect and improve the health of our communities by addressing gaps in data to understand and intervene on issues impacting the health and safety of residents.

More specifically, the aims of this workgroup include the following:

  • Supporting health departments by coordinating data requests and analyses across the six RHIOs of New York, participants, and other stakeholders.
  • Advising in the development of policies and systems to enable proactive monitoring of public health indicators, including chronic disease prevalence, social determinants of health, and health disparities.
  • Developing data strategies that will allow health officials to establish and track progress toward benchmarks across geographies, demographics, and time.
  • Fostering and promoting the innovative use of HIE infrastructure in support of public health priorities.
  • Providing timely insights and recommendations based on the changing policy landscape and innovations in health information exchange across the US.

HealtheConnections is pleased to have the opportunity to continue supporting local health departments. Through creating tools and dashboards and being involved in an administrative capacity to help develop new policies and data strategies, HealtheConnections continues to demonstrate the innovative use of HIE infrastructure for public health priorities.