New York State Department of Health Celebrates National Health Information Technology Week

Consumers, Patients Benefiting from Continued Advancements

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 16, 2013) – To mark the important role health information technology plays in improving health care delivery, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and several partners, the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO's) and the Beacon Community have joined together to celebrate National Health Information Technology (HIT) Week, September 16-20, 2013.

Nationally, HIT Week has been recognized for the past eight years. Throughout New York State, there will be activities showcasing the ways health information technology improves the quality of healthcare delivery, increases patient safety, decreases medical errors, and strengthens the interaction between patients and healthcare providers.

"Here in New York, we are proving that data can be carefully used to improve people's health without compromising privacy," said State Health Commissioner, Nirav R. Shah M.D., M.P.H. "Just this year, we launched New York's health open data website, Health Data NY and became among the first states in the country to liberate state health data from our files. We are now able to find answers to health questions with real-time data and develop evidence-based policy guidance on how to optimize the health of populations and individuals. Our commitment to broadening the use of new technology allows us to do this, and we are pleased to collaborate with our partners in this effort during HIT Week."

In June, DOH received national recognition for making valuable health data easily accessible to New Yorkers, health care providers, and health consumers through Health Data NY ( Health Data NY is the only known open data site in the U.S. devoted solely to state health data, with accompanying metadata, customized visualizations, and targeted public health messaging. The site is a key component of Governor Cuomo's Open NY Initiative (, which features a comprehensive and transparent website to help connect government on all levels with the people it serves.

New York State was recently honored with a Digital Government Achievement Award recognizing outstanding agency and department websites and projects at the application and infrastructure level. The award is for DOH's Maximizing Essential Tools for Research Innovation and eXcellence (METRIX) Project. DOH received an Honorable Mention in the "Driving Digital Government, State Government" category for the METREX Project and Health Data NY.

"The New York State Department of Health's pioneering efforts in making health data publicly available serve as a model for those looking to transform information into action in order to improve public health," said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of the Health Data Consortium. "By providing access to health data, New York is ushering in an era of innovation that will inform the way businesses, communities, and individuals participate in health care decision-making and continue to spur future development in the field."

Additionally, through the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), New York is now the first state to have a statewide health information exchange with clinical data available. The SHIN-NY is linked across the state by RHIOs, or Regional Health Information Organizations. This means that real clinical data is now available thanks to a network of participating hospitals, physician practices, long term care providers and payers who have signed on to share data on their RHIOs.

New York is also home to the largest health information technology accelerator program in the country, the New York Digital Health Accelerator. It's a public-private partnership between the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), the Partnership Fund of New York City and the Department of Health, and it's already resulted in 17 live pilot projects in healthcare settings.

"This week is a meaningful time to look back at what we've been able to accomplish, working with all of our partners, for New York State. It's these unique partnerships that have enabled our state's success and positioned us nationally as a health IT leader," said David Whitlinger, executive director at the New York eHealth Collaborative. "But there is much more work to be done and we at NYeC embrace this challenge to improve the lives of all New Yorkers."

The effort to promote care coordination models by leveraging HIT has been under way in New York State via programs such as the Patient Centered Medical Home and the Medicaid Health Home Program. Many of the participating organizations are required to work with their local RHIO's as well as adopt meaningful use electronic health records (EHRs). These requirements leverage the infrastructure, standards and policies for securely sharing patient information. Eligible providers across the country increasingly understand the benefits for themselves and their patients, and are adopting EHRs that are compliant with meaningful use. Through a national Meaningful Use Acceleration Challenge, 22,300 New York Medicaid and Medicare eligible providers have received more than $906 million in incentive payments. New York ranks fourth nationally in payments to providers for these incentives.

For access to health data, visit Health Data NY at Additional state, local and federal government data is available at

To listen to a message from Dr. Shah on advancements in Health Information Technology, visit: