Many New Yorkers are asking about SHIN-NY and sPRL. Here are some helpful answers to your questions.
What is the SHIN-NY?
The Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) is a secure information network that enables the exchange of patient data in New York State. The SHIN-NY is a “network of networks” comprised of nine independent Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs). It is governed by the New York State Department of Health and coordinated by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC). By participating in a local RHIO, healthcare providers can access clinical data for patients who have provided consent. Once a provider connects to a RHIO, they are automatically connected to the SHIN-NY.
What is required to participate in a RHIO?
To become a member of a RHIO, a provider needs to sign a “participation agreement.” A healthcare provider can obtain access through a clinical viewer or portal. While there is no cost to receive basic RHIO services, there may be a cost to connect to a RHIO if a custom interface is required. Providers should contact their RHIO for additional participant information.
What does it mean to connect to the SHIN-NY?
The SHIN-NY is the interconnected network of RHIOs. By connecting to a RHIO, the provider is also connected into the SHIN-NY network. The plan is to make exchange of data statewide by October.
What is a Qualified Entity or QE?
A “Qualified Entity” is similar to a RHIO. The term Qualified Entity is a specific legal term established by the Department of Health to define entities that are certified (“qualified”) to provide clinical record exchange services as part of the SHIN-NY. All RHIOs must pass a certification test before they may be interconnected with other RHIOs to ensure they meet stringent security, privacy, and technology standards.
What is Statewide Patient Record Lookup (sPRL), and how does it work?
sPRL acts like a secure search engine to search for a patient’s data, similar to a “Googling” function, When a healthcare provider enters basic demographic information for a specific patient who has provided their consent, sPRL will return all the records it finds for that patient from each RHIO region. Here’s how it works. When a provider uploads a patient record to the RHIO, the patient’s name is included in the RHIO’s patient index. All RHIO patient indexes are combined into a Master Patient Index for the SHIN-NY as a whole. When a provider looks up a consented patient’s records, the RHIO’s patient index is matched against the statewide Master Patient Index to see what records reside in other RHIOs. When matches between indexes occur, the records show up in the search. Essentially, sPRL allows a healthcare provider to search records across New York State for a particular patient’s information.
How is sPRL different from the existing local Patient Record Lookup (PRL) that a RHIO offers? What is the additional value?
sPRL allows participating providers to retrieve their patient’s clinical records across the entire statewide network as long as the patient has consented to make his or her records available. While this functionality has already been available within individual RHIOs’ networks, sPRL lets providers search for records across the whole state. So, for example, a family practitioner in Brooklyn can look up her patient’s health records from a provider who treated her in Binghamton.
When will sPRL be available to providers?
To ensure a smooth process, the RHIOs will be starting the interconnection process in groups of three beginning July 7th, 2015. This “onboarding” will continue through the end of September. As RHIOs become fully interconnected, their records will be available to the other interconnected RHIOs. (Of note: if a patient’s records reside in a RHIO that is not yet interconnected, an sPRL search will not show those records yet.) By October, all RHIOs will be interconnected, and providers will have access to all the RHIOs’ records regardless of which RHIO the provider participates in.