Posted on: May 2, 2018

Taking another step forward in its ongoing effort to support population health efforts, Hixny has entered into a new relationship with electronic health record (EHR) system vendor Foothold Technology, developer of the AWARDS EHR used by more than 1,000 mental and behavioral health agencies nationwide.

Hixny is the nonprofit health information exchange (HIE) supporting care coordination for more than 1.7 million patients in New York’s Capital District, Northern New York and the Mohawk Valley. A significant number of organizations within its coverage area use the AWARDS EHR to track their care of seniors, veterans, youth and families receiving mental health treatment, alcohol and substance abuse assistance, and support for intellectual and developmental disabilities, among other conditions.

A number of these organizations are in the process of becoming Hixny members. This interoperability relationship with Foothold Technology means that they will be able to contribute patient information to Hixny and access patient information from Hixny through their AWARDS EHR, simplifying their workflows. This is not only helpful for immediate patient care, but for gaining a wider view of population health within the communities these organizations serve.

“Hixny’s mission of supporting population health, one patient at a time, requires quality data from as many members of a patient’s care team as possible,” said Mark McKinney, Hixny CEO. “Every time we add a new EHR vendor, we’re opening the door for valuable new connections. Foothold is no exception.”

Building a Stronger Network

The Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, Inc. (MHACG), based in Hudson, N.Y., became one of the first Hixny members to connect to the HIE through Foothold’s AWARDS EHR. The organization supports children and adults through a variety of educational, prevention, rehabilitation and recovery programs. Like any other Hixny member organization, it collects consent forms for its patients so that it can contribute or access their information through the HIE.

Michael Gelfand, MHACG Corporate Compliance Officer/HIPAA Privacy Officer, said the agency wanted to be part of Hixny because “we understand the importance of information flow.”

To that end, MHACG contributes a robust set of information to Hixny from each patient encounter, including allergies, procedures, tests, diagnoses, vital signs, medications, discharge instructions and care plans. The organization also accesses its patients’ records from Hixny to give its providers a more complete understanding of each patient’s medical history.

Gelfand also explained that connecting to Hixny served a larger purpose for MHACG. As a member of Better Health for Northeast New York Inc. (BHNNY)—composed of Albany Medical Center, Columbia Memorial Health and Saratoga Hospital—MHACG is required to connect with a qualified regional health information organization like Hixny. That’s because BHNNY is a performing provider system (PPS) dedicated to finding better ways to address the needs of its Medicaid patients.

Systems like BHNNY were formed under the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program and given the goal of restructuring the health care delivery system to reduce costs and reduce avoidable hospitalizations by 25 percent. Behavioral health organizations like MHACG are key participants in this initiative because the population they serve demonstrates a high degree of avoidable hospital use.

Focusing on the Future

By forming a relationship with Foothold Technology, Hixny has opened the door for more regional agencies like MHACG to increase their engagement in efforts like those set forth by DSRIP.

Hixny data, tools and services currently connect more than 1,000 participants across its 19-county region, including every non-government hospital, 70 percent of physician practices and more than 65 percent of specialists. It is now working to connect additional types of providers—including behavioral health organizations.

Its tools and services provide healthcare professionals with valuable patient data, empowering them to make more informed care decisions and to operate more efficiently. Hixny is dedicated to supporting healthcare’s “Triple Aim” of improved population health, greater patient satisfaction and lower costs.

With the addition of Foothold Technology, Hixny now is interoperable with 24 EHR vendors.

Hixny will be performing extended maintenance beginning Thursday, December 31 through Friday, January 1. During this time, all services
will be impacted and unavailable—including access to the provider portal.