HEALTHeLINK, a health information exchange serving the Buffalo, N.Y. region, has started rolling out an initiative to improve diabetes management.

The HIE was one of 15 community-based organizations awarded a total of $220 million in economic stimulus funds to create "Beacon Communities" to serve as pilot sites for comprehensive use of health information technology. The goal is to accelerate and demonstrate the benefits of health I.T. while laying the groundwork for establishment of tens of thousands of health I.T. jobs.

Beacon Communities will tackle specific goals of improving health care and population health status. In Buffalo, the aim is to show how coordinated care among clinicians supported with health data exchange technology can improve the health status of diabetics.

Outcomes measures that HEALTHeLINK must meet include 5 percent reductions in emergency department visits, hospitalizations for ambulatory care and 30-day readmission rates for diabetic patients. The HIE also will strive to increase pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination and annual seasonal influenza vaccination rates among diabetics by 10 percent by using electronic health records-generated alerts to prompt patients to get the vaccines.


--Joseph Goedert


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