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Contact: Linda Johnson
WCA Hospital Public Relations
(716) 664-8614
Earl Wells/Laura Jacobs
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(716) 854-8182

WCA FIRST HOSPITAL SERVING A RURAL POPULATION TO JOIN HEALTHeLINK

WCA Hospital   WCA Hospital HEALTHeLINK

(Jamestown, February, 2010)—WCA Hospital and HEALTHeLINK today announced that WCA is the first hospital in Western New York serving a rural community to participate in the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange.  By joining HEALTHeLINK, WCA Hospital can share and access patient medical and clinical health information electronically, with the goal of improving the delivery of care, enhancing clinical outcomes and helping control healthcare costs throughout the region.

WCA Hospital HEALTHeLINKHEALTHeLINK is a non-profit organization with a community-base system for healthcare providers and consumers to electronically share medical and clinical information.  Patients allow physicians and other authorized clinical professionals to access their health information by signing a consent form. HEALTHeLINK allows multiple providers to see a patient’s clinical history via a computer, so patient data follows each patient throughout the healthcare system. 

“We are especially proud that WCA Hospital is the first hospital serving a rural community to join HEALTHeLINK,” said Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital President/CEO.  “At WCA Hospital, our mission is to improve the health and well being of the people we serve.  By participating in HEALTHeLINK, we enhance and improve the delivery of care by sharing medical and clinical health information through a secured electronic information exchange across Western New York.”

“This collaboration gives our patients, physicians, and rural healthcare systems a simple way to access critical medical and clinical information from one place. HEALTHeLINK is at the forefront of creating a truly functional regional health information exchange network and we are very excited to be part of this partnership and proud to take a leading role in helping to shape the future of our region’s healthcare system,” Wright added.

Physician participation in HEALTHeLINK is currently free of charge and does not require a practice to have an electronic medical record. Through a highly secure web interface, physicians with high-speed Internet access are able to view their patients’ health information electronically.

Through HEALTHeLINK, a physician practice has immediate web access to patient data including lab and radiology reports, prescription histories, transcribed reports, and more. Quest Labs, Kaleida Health, Catholic Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute Erie County Medical Center, Niagara Falls Memorial, and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital are currently posting data for retrieval with other hospitals throughout Western New York soon to follow.

 “Our arrangement with WCA Hospital is a first major foray to bring the clinical information exchange to rural communities throughout Western New York,” said Daniel E. Porreca, Executive Director of HEALTHeLINK who often demonstrates the system to area physicians.  “Time and distance often conspire against quality healthcare in rural communities. By making critical health information available to physicians electronically, we believe that we can help them mitigate those issues and improve healthcare quality for their patients.”

“Quicker access to patient health information will lead to providing patients with improved care and HEALTHeLINK gives physicians and other health care providers the opportunity to do just that,” said Wolf-Dieter Krahn, MD, a board certified family practice physician in Jamestown, New York, on the medical staff at WCA Hospital. 

“I encourage my colleagues in the physician community to participate in HEALTHeLINK, and take the opportunity to learn more about reimbursement opportunities to adopt an electronic medical record system,” Dr. Krahn concluded.

To be eligible for financial assistance for the purchase of an EMR from HEALTHeLINK and the area’s three major health insurers, a physician practice must be located in Erie, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans or Wyoming County and be a participating provider with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Independent Health and Univera Healthcare. Priority consideration is being given to physician practices in rural communities.

Patient consent forms are available throughout the hospital as well as on the HEALTHeLINK website (www.wnyhealthelink.com).  To learn more about the patient consent process please call 716-206-0993 ext. 311.

About WCA Hospital:
Chartered in 1885, the Woman's Christian Association of New York was founded as a boarding house for young working women and a one room hospital for its residents and other sick or injured persons. For more than a century, WCA has provided quality care and the most modern equipment for screening, diagnostics and treatment. It serves a rural population expanding from western Cattaraugus County, throughout Chautauqua County and to the northwestern part of Warren County, Pennsylvania. WCA provides an extensive range of inpatient and outpatient acute care and rehabilitation services, as well as numerous wellness programs, health-related classes and support groups to provide follow-up after patients go home. In addition, WCA conducts an accredited School of Radiologic Technology and a School of Medical Technology.

About HEALTHeLINK:
HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, is a collaborative effort among various organizations to share clinical information in efficient and meaningful ways to improve the delivery of care, enhance clinical outcomes, and help control healthcare costs throughout the region. The not-for-profit organization was established through funding from The Catholic Health System, Erie County Medical Center Corporation, HealthNow New York (BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York), Independent Health Association, Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Univera Healthcare and the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers Capital Grant Program (HEAL NY) from New York State. HEALTHeLINK stakeholders also include a broad representation of healthcare professionals and organizations throughout the eight-county Western New York region such as the Buffalo Academy of Medicine (BAM), Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH), State University of New York at Buffalo and the WNY R-AHEC (Rural Area Health Education Center).

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