Introducing New Population Health Tool for Local Health Departments

Leveraging the patient health information contributed from more than 500 organizations in 26 counties of New York State, HealtheConnections (HeC) has launched a new application for local health departments to view de-identified clinical data from its health information exchange (HIE) for population health-level use. This analytics-based tool, with graphical dashboards and user-selectable criteria, includes prevalence estimates of hypertension, diabetes and pre-diabetes at the county and zip code level.

The prevalence estimates can be stratified by geography, age, gender, race and ethnicity through easy-to-use filters and interactive maps, tables and charts, allowing users to examine the distribution of disease and potential disparities in disease burden. Local health departments (LHDs) can better understand disease prevalence, and plan effective interventions to address disparities and protect and improve public health.

Unique Value of Using HIE Data for Population Health:

  • Data Made Available Quickly – Too often, LHDs must rely on information that is outdated by a number of years. Unlike most sources of population health data, HIE data reflect a more recent time period. The application is updated with new data on near real-time basis, making it possible to evaluate interventions closer to when they occur and better make data-informed decisions.
  • Identify Undiagnosed Disease – HeC’s tool presents relative patient clinical data (e.g., A1C scores, blood pressure) to assist with patients not yet diagnosed. Presenting data for patients who meet the clinical definition of having a disease but are undiagnosed offers LHDs a more complete picture of disease prevalence.
  • Gain Clinical Insights – With HIE data, LHDs can move beyond knowing disease prevalence and gain information from patients’ visits to healthcare providers. For example, data on blood pressure readings at physical exams provides a measure of patients who have Uncontrolled Hypertension. Looking at these data may help identify needs and opportunities for population-level interventions to improve Hypertension management.
  • Community Health Assessments and Improvement Plans – The application is a valuable tool to help LHDs conduct their Community Health Assessments (CHAs) and monitor their Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs)

HealtheConnections supports more than 1,500 participating organizations – both clinical and community-based – across 3,700 locations with 10,000 licensed clinicians. More than 70% of regional providers are using and/or sharing data with HealtheConnections’ HIE.

“We are pleased to leverage our robust HIE clinical network to support our local health departments and the vital role they play in the wellbeing of our communities,” said Rob Hack, President and CEO of HealtheConnections. “While the application is initially being launched with LHDs, there is enormous potential for these population-level data to be made available to a broader set of users to help providers examine the context under which their patients live.”

HealtheConnections received funding from the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention at the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to assist with its development. All prevalence measures are defined based on NYSDOH guidance.