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Innovative Health Coalition Forms in Bronx Creating System for Electronic Patient Records

New York City, NY  (December 7, 2006)  --  To help improve the quality and efficiency of care for the 1.4 million people in the Bronx, Montefiore Medical Center and other healthcare providers throughout the borough have agreed to work together to create a system for electronic patient records and clinical information that will have built-in safeguards to protect individual patient information. 

The new Bronx Regional Health Information Organization (Bronx RHIO) is being established through a $4.1 million New York State grant, and its members include institutions with some of the nation’s most highly advanced electronic clinical information systems.  The Bronx RHIO already encompasses 80 percent of the Bronx’s healthcare providers, 50 percent of the borough’s practicing physicians and two-thirds of all Bronx inpatient care.  The Bronx RHIO differs from other RHIOs nationwide, because its members represent the entire spectrum of healthcare institutions in a single geographic area.  Most RHIOs are forming exclusively among hospitals or physician groups or other like-institutions, without broad-based integration.  Barbara Radin, formerly the executive director of Metro Plus Health Plan, will serve as executive director of the Bronx RHIO.

“People tend to visit more than one doctor, hospital or emergency room for their medical care, and there has been no way to know from one place to another what diagnostic tests have been performed or what drugs were prescribed for the same patient in any of these venues,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bronx RHIO and senior vice president/chief medical officer, Montefiore Medical Center.

“By sharing electronic medical records, any healthcare provider will have the advantage of a patient’s entire medical history, instantly, right at their fingertips, wherever they are,” Dr. Safyer said. 

“This is a unique opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery in the Bronx through a true collaborative effort that crosses the entire continuum of care,” said Verona Greenland, Executive Director, Morris Heights Health Center and a member of the Bronx RHIO board.  “This project includes major primary care locations, private physician offices, specialists, hospitals, homecare and long-term care organizations, as well as laboratories and pharmacies,” she said.

The Bronx RHIO grant is one of the largest of 26 state grants totaling $52.9 million provided to regions across New York under the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law.  “We see the Bronx RHIO as part of a potential state-wide patient data sharing system,” said Dr. Safyer.

The Bronx RHIO members, each of which gets a single vote in the governance of the organization, are: Bronx Community Health Network; Bronx Lebanon Hospital;  James J. Peters Veterans Administration Hospital; Lincoln Hospital; Jewish Home and Hospital; Montefiore Medical Center; Morris Heights Health Center; North Bronx Health Network; Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center; New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Urban Health Plan.

Montefiore, the VA Hospital, Bronx Lebanon, and the three NYC Health and Hospital Corporation hospitals (Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Jacobi and North Central Bronx Hospital) already have built some of the most highly advanced electronic clinical information systems in the US.  These systems manage the electronic records of several million patients and each record contains laboratory results, imaging results, prescribed drugs and other clinical data that can be called up at each institution.  The goal of the Bronx RHIO is to link these clinical databases so that this data is available for providers and patients throughout the borough, no matter where they are seen.  The data can also be aggregated and analyzed to perform epidemiological studies, such as how diabetic patients in one clinic are doing versus an institution as a whole.

Emerging Health Information Technology (http://www.emerginghealthit.com/), a healthcare information technology consulting and professional services company and dbMotion (http://www.dbmotion.com/), a leading provider of healthcare information integration software that integrates clinical information from multiple care providers creating secure virtual patient records, will be the lead technology providers for the Bronx RHIO. 

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