Join a RHIO or Else

Date: August 13th

Time: 7:12am

Location: Metro North Express, unnamed car #6127

Given the immediate nature of blogging, we have the ability to be timely in discussing different topics as they arise. So, today, I’ll interrupt the thread that was started last week, relating to Health Homes and the Digital Health Accelerator, to jump onto something very topical.

Last Friday, Crain’s published a brief article with an intriguing headline: “Join a RHIO, or else, DoH Says.”

Here is an excerpt:

“The panel told the Hospital for Special Surgery and Memorial Sloan-Kettering that they could have certificates of need for two pending construction projects only if they agree to participate in a Regional Health Information Organization—an electronic network for sharing patients’ medical records and other health documents. Getting the state’s health care facilities fully interconnected is a major goal of the state and the federal governments.”

What’s the scoop? Well, here in the State of New York, the Department of Health convenes a group called the Public Health and Health Planning Council. Among other activities, this group is responsible for reviewing and approving all major healthcare capital expenditures through a process called the Certificate of Need, or CON. Essentially, this process is used by the DoH and the healthcare community to thoughtfully plan and approve capacity within the state. The Council is comprised largely of healthcare leadership from the community, but also has representation from the Department of Health’s Commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah. (You can read about the Council and see the full list of council members here.)

So, it seems that this knowledgeable, respected, and esteemed group of healthcare leaders made a public and profound statement last week: They formally and publicly told two of their peer healthcare provider organizations that it was no longer acceptable to stand apart from the community by not sharing patient healthcare information with the other providers in the state. The healthcare community, both providers and the DoH, made a strong statement in that instant—they collectively strengthened their commitment to quality care, efficiency, and patient access through the usage of health information technology and the SHIN-NY.

Thank you Jeff Kraut, Dr. Shah, and other members of the healthcare community who contributed to this position within the Council. Well done—great leadership!

We’ll return to the Health Home and Digital Health Accelerator story later this week. And now my train is rolling into Grand Central so I’ll have to wrap up.