Hixny’s History at a Glance
Like many organizations, Hixny started with “an idea and relationships,” in the words of Ray Murphy, our leader in the early years.
In fact, Hixny began when a group of people—even competitors—came together with the common goal of improving healthcare in the greater Capital Region. Today, Hixny is one of the nation’s most successful and ground-breaking health information exchanges (HIEs), thanks to their vision and effort.
Here’s our story of collaboration, evolution and innovation in a nutshell.
Gary Fitzgerald, president of Iroquois Health Care Alliance, and Paul Macielak, president and CEO of the New York Health Plan Association—who were friends from the days they worked together in the State Senate—saw a chance to use common ground among their members around compliance with HIPAA. This effort resulted in the creation of Hixny.
The Capital Region Health Data Interoperability Task Force was formed to begin sharing information across health systems. Other health systems, including Northeast Health, took notice and got involved with the Task Force, which initially operated like a “CIO think tank” in its early days.
New York state announced $53 million in grants available under the Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL) to create health information exchanges (HIEs). HEAL triggered the merger of the Task Force with Hixny. Eighteen initial healthcare organizations, mostly hospitals, comprised the initial Hixny membership.
Hixny received a milestone grant under HEAL for $1.7 million. Albany-based insurer CDPHP provided matching funds, bringing the coffers up to $3.4 million. Ray Murphy was asked to lead Hixny in collaboration with committees comprised of the organization’s board members. A core goal of the “working board” was to build trust for information sharing across healthcare leaders representing different systems and to leverage the HEAL grant to build an HIE to link Capital Region payers and providers. Hixny chose FirstGateways as its platform.
FirstGateways was sold and Hixny began to realize it was not the ideal solution for them. Hixny was testing with trials at Seton Health and Northeast Health in Troy, (now both part of St. Peter’s), Saratoga Hospital and Latham-based Community Care Physicians. Hixny and the Adirondack Regional Health Information Exchange (ARCHIE) join forces on a joint application for a second HEAL grant.
With the second HEAL grant in hand, Dominick Bizzarro was selected as Hixny’s first CEO and he began building his team. The second HEAL grant catapulted the organization from no employees to a dozen nearly overnight. Hixny’s board became less hands-on, and focused more on establishing critically needed governance. Hixny flipped the switch for the organizations involved in testing, and information officially started to flow.
A few “early adopters” were contributing basic data, such as patient demographics and medication history, and an e-prescribing initiative was underway. The passage of The American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) in February of 2009 made what Hixny was doing even more important. Among its provisions were requirements for the “meaningful use” of health information technology, which financial incentives and penalties for providers attached. After an extensive RFP process, FirstGateways was replaced in 2009 with InterSystems Corp.
Hixny started connecting providers as well as hospitals—which had been its early members.
Hixny was reporting 32 members in 17 counties. Most were contributing data, including lab reports, images and discharge summaries, with more gearing up to do the same. By the fall, more than 1,100 healthcare professionals were sharing information on 2 million patients. In October, Hixny merged with the Adirondack Regional Health Exchange increasing its reach to the north country.
Hixny rolled out provider alerts and direct messaging as well as a patient portal that allows patients to access and manage their own medical records.
Hixny received a grant from New York state for a project called Wire Once to accelerate the quality, connectivity and interoperability of the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), its Qualified Entities (QEs) and participating providers through a single connection that eliminates multiple connections.
Hixny announces an expansion with nine new counties to the meet physician demand for more reliable and secure patient information.