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New York Leads Nation in Electronic Medical Records Systems

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Electronic Health Records in New York

New York State leads the nation in health IT systems. The New York model could help the federal government’s impetus to cut healthcare costs while delivering quality healthcare using electronic medical records systems that give physicians instant access to patient medical records.

HIT systems that store patient’s medical records can prevent medical errors. Physicians can have access to the medical records of patients being treated anywhere, decreasing cost, providing continuity of care, and reducing medical errors. New York's HIT systems are running effectively two years after being established, paving the way for other health information technology systems that store patient medical records electronically.

Lead researcher Dr. Lisa Kern, assistant professor of public health and medicine and the Nanette Laitman Clinical Scholar in Public Health–Clinical Evaluation at Weill Cornell Medical College explains, "Ideally, a doctor treating a patient will have access to the patient's entire medical history at the point of care. For example, I'm better able to avoid an adverse drug event if I know what the patient's cardiologist prescribed the patient yesterday."

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Health information technology can save dollars. Our government is ready to spend $19 billion to improve our nation’s healthcare with electronic medical records. Senior author Dr. Rainu Kaushal, chief of the Division of Quality and Clinical Informatics and associate professor of pediatrics, public health and medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College says, "Programs such as these could transform the way health care is delivered nationally and locally."

New York received funding for their HIT system in 2005, as part of the first phase of HEAL NY. Lori M. Evans, Deputy Commissioner, New York State Department of Health, Office of Health Information Technology Transformation leads the New York HIT strategy. "Over the past two years, the grantees have been involved in developing and implementing statewide policy solutions, technological building blocks, and clinical capacity as part of New York's health IT infrastructure. I think this has made a big difference in the progress and success of our grantees -- innovating from the bottom up and following statewide policies, standards and technical specifications from the top down.”

New York’s success in implementing a successful electronic medical records system is lauded by the authors of the current study that shows New York is a model for other HIT systems to follow. Dr. Kern says, “Two years into the program, 100 percent of grantees were still in existence and functioning and all were still implementing interoperable health IT systems. This is in contrast to national trends, where 25 percent of regional health information organizations (RHIOs) nationwide do not survive their first year”.

The success of the New York State electronic medical records system is expected to shape the future of healthcare delivery, paving the way to cost savings, fewer medical errors, and continuity of patient care.