HealtheConnections Supports Local Health Departments to Track, Mitigate Local COVID-19 Impact

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, local health departments (LHDs) have led county public health responses and supported our most vulnerable populations. These departments and staff are tasked with contact tracing, analyzing trends, and supplying information and resources to community members. With more than 1,400 participating organizations covering 42% of the patient population of New York state, HealtheConnections is supporting these efforts by leveraging its robust health information exchange (HIE) data to supply actionable information for LHD staff.

24 of New York State’s LHDs are within the HealtheConnections footprint and signed up to participate. This means that, on a regular basis, they are able to access patient medical histories with specific public health access permissions in accordance with State policy. Throughout the past 5 months, this access has been more crucial than ever and seen a 222% increase in public health accesses through HealtheConnections since the beginning of March when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the region.

To support their work in contact tracing, mapping hot spots, and communicating with COVID-positive patients in their counties, HealtheConnections has developed a series of reports with in-depth filtering options to organize information, spot trends, and reach out to those patients in need.

  • The COVID-19 Lab Results Report collects test results from throughout the state and includes demographic and contact information.
  • The Hospitalization Report organizes a list of COVID-positive patients and information about recent hospitalizations – where, when, and the diagnosis – as well as the test result and contact info.

Since the reports launched in March, more than 2,000 users have accessed them nearly 20,000 times.

“We’re committed to bridging the gaps between clinical care, community-based care, payers, and government entities. Our regional health departments are a critical component of that system,” said Rob Hack, President & CEO of HealtheConnections. “We have a responsibility to support their efforts not only as their HIE, but as members of the community.”

HealtheConnections has 460 organizations contributing clinical data, including 100% of the hospitals within its footprint. These reports rely on this data and statewide lab data collected and shared through our partnership with the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH).

As the pandemic continues, the critical importance of accurate, timely data in the public health space is clearer now more than ever. HealtheConnections is dedicated to continued development and leveraging the HIE network and clinical data in support of local health departments and the NYS public health agenda.

To learn more about HIE applications in public health or population health improvement grant work, please see the COVID-19 Resources, Value-Based Solutions, and Population Health Improvement sections of the HealtheConnections website.