What is the SHIN-NY?

The Engine Powering New York’s Digital Health Transformation

Obsolete practices such as handwritten notes or aging technologies like fax machines are still prevalent in healthcare. The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has helped to reduce medical errors, but EHRs alone are not a panacea for improving how we deliver healthcare.

That’s where the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY) comes in. By providing a way for healthcare professionals to easily and securely share electronic health information, we can significantly improve patient safety and care while reducing wasteful cost in the system.

This requires the creation of a secure, technical infrastructure, a set of regulations which establish how the network will be governed, and policies which allow the flow of information while simultaneously safeguarding all patients’ information and right to privacy.

The SHIN-NY is the Statewide Health Information Network for New York. NYeC works with the New York State Department of Health to coordinate the technical and policy development of the SHIN-NY, and also convenes a broad range of healthcare stakeholders to ensure that the SHIN-NY provides access to a patient’s electronic medical records wherever and whenever they need it.

A "Network of Networks"

The SHIN-NY is a “network of networks” that links New York’s eight regional Qualified Entities (QEs) throughout the state. Each Qualified Entity (or RHIO) operates its own network that collects electronic health records from participating providers. With patient consent, the QE allows those records to be accessed securely by other healthcare providers in their local community.

As part of the SHIN-NY network, QEs are able to exchange records between each other. So from Buffalo to Brooklyn, providers can “talk” to each other quickly and securely, accessing up-to-date and accurate clinical information. Today, these regional networks combined already connect nearly all of the hospitals in New York State, thousands of medical providers, and represent millions of people who live in or receive care in NY.

The SHIN-NY helps doctors make informed decisions faster, avoiding unnecessary tests, and helping to reduce costs.

And the SHIN-NY is safe—it is overseen by the New York State Department of Health and governed by federal HIPAA and State privacy and security policies and standards.

How Can the SHIN-NY Make Lives Better?

The SHIN-NY creates more streamlined care and better patient experiences while improving safety and lowering healthcare costs. In emergency situations, access to critical patient information can mean the difference between life and death.

Here’s how it works:

A doctor treating an unconscious emergency room patient in Syracuse can instantly receive the patient’s available medical history, including clinical information such as past procedures, test results, medications, and relevant allergies from her primary care physician in Staten Island.

When the patient returns to her primary care physician in Staten Island for follow-up care, the doctor will not need to make any phone calls to request a copy of any procedures, diagnoses, or lab results from the treating physicians in Syracuse if he or she is connected to the SHIN-NY.

The patient will not need to remember to have lab results sent, nor will she need to carry her own records to other specialist doctors by hand. Her primary care physician, when securely connected to the SHIN-NY, will have complete, accurate, and private access to the information gathered by each one of the specialists the patient has visited.

By having ready access to this information, fewer mistakes will be made, fewer tests repeated, and money and time will be saved on administrative details. Most importantly, the patient and doctor will have more time together to discuss treatment options and recovery.

The SHIN-NY also helps reduce cost of care for Medicare and Medicaid patients, which represent 1/3 of the total health state expenditures.

New initiatives such as Health Homes and Performing Provider Systems (PPS) have been designed to coordinate care among patients with multiple and chronic conditions to ensure collaborative care while reducing costs. Such patients might see several providers concurrently, and many providers are often unaware of what other care the patient is receiving.

Through the SHIN-NY, all providers treating a patient have access to that patient’s health history, and in doing so, the SHIN-NY provides the foundation for vastly improving the quality of care across the state.

SHIN-NY Privacy and Security

The SHIN-NY’s security requirements are strict, meaning that a patient’s health records are NOT publicly accessible. Security measures include encryption and identity proofing, password protection, intrusion detection, and multiple firewalls. Patient information in the SHIN-NY is protected under HIPAA, other applicable federal and state laws, and national data exchange standards (IHE & Healtheway), making your data safe and secure.

Only a patient decides who can see their records. As a patient, you must give consent to your doctor to access your records, and you may opt-out at any time.