Below are just some of the Institute’s current health information technology projects:
Using registries to improve population health
The Institute created EHR-based registries for diabetes and congestive health failure (CHF). Although diabetes and CHF are serious conditions, patients who receive the right services can reduce their risk of complications. Registries are an excellent management tool: primary care providers use them to make sure all patients are getting the best quality care, and outreach staff use them to remind patients of any needed screenings or follow-up. The Institute is now working on a registry for patients with HIV.
With funding from HRSA, the Institute is developing a customized scoring system to rank patients according to their risk of developing diabetes. Scores are based on a longitudinal analysis of factors documented in our EHR which we have found to be associated with the eventual onset of diabetes, including factors not incorporated in other studies, such as patient race and diagnosis of depression.
The Institute’s risk-based outreach initiatives began with a pilot effort focused in increasing colon cancer screening among patients at increased risk of developing the disease. The pilot effort indicated higher screening completion rates among those patients with higher risk scores who were targeted for enhanced outreach.
“Granular ethnicity” data collection
Better data collection is the first step towards addressing health disparities at the population level. With funding from HRSA, the Institute has updated its patient intake process to invite patients to provide detailed “granular” ethnicity information, including country of origin and preferred language. The Institute will use this data to identify groups of patients experiencing health disparities and target services to those groups.
Health workforce retraining
The Institute’s Health Workforce Retraining Initiative (HWRI), funded since 2007 by the New York State Department of Health, addresses the continuing need for high-quality employee training to keep pace with the ever-changing healthcare industry. Training and re-training medical support staff to use electronic health records (EHR) and participate in patient-centered care supports the Institute’s mission and creates a skilled workforce that is up-to-date with new models of healthcare. In 2012 alone, the Institute provided over 900 hours of training to our employees as well as staff from over 60 partner organizations in New York City and the Mid-Hudson Valley Region of New York State.
MedLine Plus Connect
With funding and support from the National Library of Medicine, the Institute created MedlinePlus Connect, which integrates with any electronic health record system to link patients directly from their own health information available through a patient portal to relevant health information maintained on the NLM’s MedlinePlus.gov website. The project was recently recognized by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in an award ceremony for innovations developed by HHS agencies and community partners.
MedlinePlus Connect is now being used by health systems across the country. Examples of health systems and electronic health record vendors now using MedlinePlus Connect can be found at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/connect/users.html.