To the Editor:
Re: “Doctors Hit a Snag in the Rush to Connect” (Business Day, Oct. 1):
The value of electronic health records comes from being interconnected, giving doctors secure and confidential access to consenting patients’ medical information anytime, anywhere, and potentially saving lives. Interconnectivity enables transmission of patient clinical records through a network connection.
Common standards will broaden use of electronic records and facilitate connectivity with health information exchanges. Standards will reduce costs, paving the way for smaller physician practices to gain access. Creating “plug and play” connectivity will give all parties a stake and a benefit in lowering costs while growing new markets and innovative new products.
Greater interconnectivity of electronic records and health information exchange will promote coordinated care and support new care models under state Medicaid reform. New York’s commitment to interconnected electronic records is evident in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s $55 million investment in the Statewide Health Information Network for New York—a “network of networks” linking 10 regional health information exchanges. In doing so, New York has become a national leader for developing and implementing health information exchanges.
By enabling physicians’ access to consenting patients’ records through interconnected regional hubs, the state network will reduce costs from unnecessary duplicate tests. It will also facilitate collaboration and transitions of care from hospital to primary physician, for example, potentially reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions.
I hope that providers participate and patients will opt to make their records available to promote better health care coordination and a more efficient system.
HOWARD A. ZUCKER
New York State Department of Health
Albany, Oct. 2, 2014
(Source: The New York Times)