Highlight on New York: Opening Up Access to Medical Records Online

New York will become the first state in the nation to offer consumers online access to their health information, including physician orders, diagnoses, prescriptions, and office visits through an online patient portal.  According to New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Dirav R. Shah, who wrote a guest column for StateScoop, “In the old days, that data was treated like classified information and warehoused in the files of the facility that collected it. (Fans of “Seinfeld” will recall that Elaine had to resort to theft to see her medical records only to learn that she was poorly regarded by her dermatologist.) But now, we know better: All that information belongs to you, the patient.”

The portal is being designed by Mana Health, a health IT start-up in New York, in conjunction with the New York eHealth Collaborative. It will allow patients to access data from the Statewide Health Information Network of New York, which securely shares clinical patient data across the state, and the All Payer Database, where claims data from public and private payers within the state are compiled.

“Best of all,” wrote Shah, “the data will be interoperable, meaning that a patient whose records are on one doctor’s health IT system can still be integrated with those from another doctor using a different system.” Patients will be able to download the data, allowing them to manage their own health and utilize third-party apps and services. “They can use the data to achieve important health goals, be it losing 20 pounds, managing blood glucose levels or training for a marathon,” wrote Shah.

In addition to the portal, the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) Blue Button Initiative is in the works. Soon, the NYSIIS will allow parents to access pediatric immunization records from outside of New York City, reducing the need for providers to spend time fulfilling immunization records requests every time parents need to submit it to a school, camp, or child care center.