HealtheConnections said Thursday that the partnership will link medications prescribed with prescriptions picked up at more than 70 Kinney Drugs stores in New York. Overall, the regional drug chain operates 100 stores in upstate New York and Vermont.
A regional health information organization (RHIO) based in Syracuse, HealtheConnections supports 11 counties in central and northern New York. The company said the ability of health providers to share patients’ information through its health information exchange (HIE) can save time spent filling out paperwork, briefing providers on their medical history and tracking prescriptions across caregivers.
“Pharmacists play an essential role in the treatment and prevention of chronic and acute illnesses. By partnering with HealtheConnections, our pharmacists will be more integrated within the health care system which will allow them to better collaborate with other providers to help improve patient health outcomes,” Kinney Drugs president Jim Spencer said in a statement. “Over $290 billion is wasted annually due to the medical costs associated with poor medication adherence and our pharmacists are best positioned to help address this issue.
“Kinney Drugs is excited to offer this service to our patients as a meaningful way to more effectively communicate prescription information to their providers, as we strive to deliver the highest level of care and make it easier for our patients to lead healthier lives,” Spencer added.
HealtheConnections noted that the partnership with Kinney Drugs gives physicians access to critical prescription and medical information that may not otherwise be available, which is particularly important for urgent care or emergency room visits late at night or on weekends.
“Pharmacists and pharmacy services are vital to patient care. Having access to medications that are picked up, not just prescribed or filled, brings us much closer to knowing what medications a patient is using for their care and health,” stated Rob Hack, president and chief executive officer of HealtheConnections. “This valued partnership with Kinney Drugs will provide an important flow of information that will greatly enhance the patient, provider and pharmacist interaction and communication for improved patient care.”
Patients must provide consent for their health care providers to view their electronic medical information via the HealtheConnections HIE. Key benefits for patients, the company said, include fewer repeat medical tests and procedures, since visibility of previously picked-up prescriptions, tests results and services will eliminate duplicate testing as well as the dangers of prescribing duplicate medication therapies; reduced risk of errors, due to the use of electronic health records (EHRs) versus hand-written or faxed reports, prescriptions and orders; and more convenience, as patients won’t need to carry prescription records, lab reports, radiology test results and images, and other medical information from provider to provider.
In addition, HealtheConnections said the partnership can improve emergency and overall care, since vital medical information for diagnosis and treatment will be available even when patients might not be able to explain their medical situation or prescription history. Health care providers and pharmacists, too, will be able to correspond about patient clinical information using Direct Mail, a secure email system.
More than a million of HealtheConnections’ regional population has provided consent to their care providers, the company said, adding that over 170 regional health care organizations are sharing EHRs for the use of nearly 600 participating organizations, or about 70% of the region’s 3,000 providers. Information can only be accessed by and exchanged between patient-authorized and HealtheConnections-governed health providers.