Why the SHIN-NY is Key to Combating Communicable Diseases

Claudia A. Edwards, MS, Public Health Director for Broome County Health Department, recently contributed an op-ed in the Press & Sun-Bulletin discussing the critical role New York State’s HIE, the SHIN-NY, plays in combating communicable diseases and saving lives.

The most important job of any public health department is to rapidly investigate new cases of patients with life-threatening and highly communicable diseases, such as pertussis, meningitis, and E. coli. Most communicable disease investigations should begin immediately to protect patients and their close contacts from increased exposure to the disease and to prevent large-scale outbreaks.

One of the most important new tools we’ve had in public health in recent years is rapid, secure access to electronic health records. Currently, they’re siloed in individual public health departments in New York, so we haven’t unleashed their full power yet. Fortunately, the state’s proposal for an interconnected, statewide health information network would change that.

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(Courtesy of the Press & Sun-Bulletin)