NY Health Records Database Grows to 9 Million Patients

ALBANY (AP) -

Nearly 9 million New Yorkers now have health records in a growing database accessible to most of the state’s hospitals, public health centers, long-term care facilities and nearly one-quarter of physicians.

The State Health Information Network for New York, fully operational statewide since September, is now used by 62,000 medical providers that pay to connect. Called SHIN-NY and pronounced “shiny,” officials said it now handles more than 2.8 million transactions a month.

The goal is to have the remaining 10 million New Yorkers consent and add remaining providers to create health records that can be searched.

“We’re closing in on half the population of the state saying, ‘Yes I want my records to be shared,’” said David Whitlinger, executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative.

Centralized records are especially useful when patients can’t recall all their treatments and medications from various providers, or are in a medical crisis and can’t communicate.

The mostly state-funded project, begun in 2006, is expected to produce savings more than triple the estimated $70 million annual operating cost.

Insurers may also begin using SHIN-NY for determining whether to approve or deny claims, and some are beginning to look at it, Whitlinger said.

“That’s the next frontier,” he said.