Posted on: January 22, 2021

The way you interact with Hixny has been top of mind this year, as we’ve focused on improving customer satisfaction from first contact to established use.

What is a hackathon? For Hixny, it was an opportunity to turn a multidisciplinary team loose for two weeks to develop a viable solution to a longstanding user challenge. It was also just one way we mixed things up this year to address the way our users—of all stripes— interact with Hixny, get the information needed and can put it to work providing high-quality healthcare across the region.


While Hixny has always kept a finger on the pulse of our users’ preferences and requests, we’ve traditionally received details anecdotally. We were also limited for many years by technical challenges presented by programming decisions made by electronic health records (EHR) vendors without regard for potential connection to health information networks (HINs) like Hixny.

With the introduction of the New York eHealth Collaborative’s annual survey in 2019, following close on the heels of our own public opinion poll and stakeholder interviews, we have begun to receive clear, often statistically significant, feedback that we can use in our work to meet user expectations. At the same time, with technology advances like SMART on FHIR giving us a new and much-improved gateway into EHRs, we can deliver information in relevant, actionable ways that our users are telling us they prefer.

To support these efforts, we’ve also introduced brief surveys at critical points in our users’ interaction with Hixny, such as following implementation and during support exchanges. By automating these through our customer relationship management system, we can crunch responses to see what’s used and not, by what types of users, in what types of organizations and more, alongside the metrics from the HIN that show us aggregated user behavior patterns in real time. That, in turn, is allowing us to make well-informed decisions about priorities and next steps in our efforts to continue improving the service Hixny provides, with a particular focus on user interfaces and the user experience.

We’re pleased that these efforts are paying off. Anecdotally, we’re hearing that former barriers to use, such as printing particular information, have been overcome. Statistically, we can provide the example that, in a recent week, more than 1,000 users accessed Hixny at least once. More than 500 of them clicked through to access specific information, with documents of particular interest. Of those, 300 printed labs and 150 reviewed COVID-19 results. In total, that sample of users completed 5,300 actions during that week.


This spring’s hackathon was one way we responded to the patterns we’ve been seeing and the feedback we’ve been hearing. For years, our users had told us that they wanted easier, more efficient and effective access to information. So, in early January, we invited applications from our developers to solve the problem of delivering information that could be easily understood by our users.

To spur innovation, we selected two of the applicants and paired them with our product development and marketing staff. We gave the team two weeks of uninterrupted time to pursue the solution and deliver a proof of concept and a plan to scale it into reality.

What came out after the two weeks was the foundation for the patient record snapshot, which launched in the provider portal this fall. The solution addressed both the technical challenge and ways to make the resulting app work independently across devices in both native and third-party applications. At the end of two weeks, we not only had the wireframed capability, but ways to address customer feedback, branding, look and feel, and common troubleshooting solutions.

After presenting the work to executives, the group formed the core of the team that ultimately built the project. In fact, they gave a path forward beyond the current version of the snapshot, so future versions will continue to build on their initial innovation.


Another area where we were able to make significant progress this year was in easing the ways people interact with Hixny information.

In particular, we expanded two-factor authentication and single sign-on capabilities from the desktop to mobile devices in several provider organizations. In hospitals, our users are often working without the ability to use cookies to save login information. Many don’t have access to email on the floor, so they were unable to receive a new authentication code each time they needed to log in. To alleviate that problem, we have integrated with single sign-on protocols in some facilities and we’re working to allow text or authenticator app delivery of codes to users’ phones in others.

We’ve also worked to streamline the process for new users to access their accounts after they are generated. To reduce or eliminate the fall-off that we used to experience between the creation of a user account and the user’s completion of state-required pre-access training, we streamlined the training course and automated the process of account generation and activation. We’ve since seen a significantly higher rate of training completion and shorter completion times.

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.