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Millions of New Yorkers Sign Up For Network That Gives Providers Access To Health Care Data

Almost nine million New Yorkers have signed up for a network that gives providers across the state access to their health care data.

According to Dave Whitlinger, Executive Director of The New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), patients are onboard and practitioners have been slow to join.

"So about 98% of the time when somebody is told, “hey if you sign this form, I as your provider can see  all of your other records, will you sign it ? 98% of the time the patient signs the form -- they want their doctor to have all of their data."

Only 62,000 users have signed up out of what Whitlinger estimates could be 100 to 150 thousand healthcare providers.

"The payment system really hasn’t incented doctors quite frankly to care about each other and what they’re doing. If it’s a fee for service payment system -- really doesn’t reward the doctor if they try to coordinate care with the other providers seeing the patients simultaneously."

He says that a shift away from a fee per service payment system may be the incentive doctors need.

Whitlinger says patients with multiple health issues especially can benefit.

"An individual who perhaps might be seeing 4 or 5 providers --- healthcare providers a month -- maybe they have  heart issues and they’re seeing a cardiologist -- they have a primary care doctor -- those doctors now don’t have to rely upon fax machines or rely upon the patient to try to coordinate the record exchange."

But for this to work, he says, healthcare providers need to join the network -- which has been a challenge.