Hixny began 2017 with 10 public health departments, including the New York State Department of Health, connected.
Montgomery County Department of Public Health was the first county agency to join with Hixny, last spring. It was followed by health departments in Essex, Hamilton, Warren, Albany, Greene, Fulton, Franklin and Washington counties.
Under state Public Health Law, counties are required to investigate all suspected or confirmed cases of communicable diseases, including measles, the Zika virus, Hepatitis B, the flu and sexually transmitted diseases. Kim Conboy, Public Health Director for Montgomery County, said having access to Hixny has made this task a lot easier.
Conboy said that in the past, when her office received a positive lab result, it would follow up first by calling the physician’s office and confirming the patient had been informed. Then, the physician or the patient would be interviewed by phone for additional information to complete the investigation.
“Now we just go to the record in Hixny and it is all there,” she said. “The doctor has already asked the patient many of the same questions we need answered in our investigation. So it really helps tremendously. It is a big time saver for us and frees up time for healthcare providers as well.”
County officials report that Hixny is extremely helpful in the search for basic patient information, including phone numbers and the identity of the person’s primary care physician.
“The things we access include positive lab reports and medical reports,” Conboy said. “We check for pregnancy. We retrieve treatment summaries to be sure the patient is on the right medications.”
Under Public Health Law, health departments are not required to get patient consent to access records on people with communicable diseases.
“It is very valuable for public health departments to be part of Hixny,” said Joyce Finkelmeier, the Hixny Account Manager working with the county public health departments. “Only Hixny provides the complete view of the patient that enables public health officials, working with the patient’s primary care physician, to close the loop and make sure the patient gets the care they need. The population as a whole benefits when health departments connect to the Hixny Patient Record.”