Interoperability

Photo by Flickr user MeddyGarnet/used under Creative Commons license

Photo by Flickr user MeddyGarnet/used under Creative Commons license

Information is like a genie in a bottle. It can be used for good purposes and for bad. It’s good to keep both in mind.

Healthcare has its share of charlatans, incompetents, poseurs and crooks. Does the availability of more accessible information empower these people or disable them? Surely both. But believers in the free market of ideas start with the assumption — call it false optimism if you will — that in the world of ideas good will drive out bad.

Fishkill-based MedAllies, founded in 2001, is in the business of implementing electronic health records (EHR) in order to facilitate physician office redesign, improve office practice efficiencies, and enhance population health. Its thinking has been influential in the ideas contained in the New York State Health Innovation Plan adopted by the state government last year.

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Its CEO, Dr. A John Blair III, is also president of the 5000-member Taconic IPA, whose physician members have been at the forefront of transforming healthcare delivery in the Hudson Valley through meaningful use of health information technology and pay-for-performance incentives. MedAllies boasts of now including nearly 2500 healthcare organizations and 40,000 users in its Direct network. It connects to more than 6000 healthcare organizations and 200,000 users.

The company appears to be continuing its expansionary mode. “MedAllies is experiencing unprecedented growth, both internally and in terms of market share,” said Blair recently.

Blair’s a nationally recognized expert in the use of healthcare information. He realizes that information is a tool for change. Revolutionary healthcare transformation, he wrote last month, “required the use of health information technology as a tool, care coordination as a process, and realigned payments as an incentive.” That’s the present New York State plan in a nutshell.

Meaningful Use

American healthcare transformation has been a long slog, as its pioneers are fully aware. The perils of information misuse and abuse are very real. Security and the protection of privacy are real concerns, as any veteran of the health information technology field is well aware. In that regard, MedAllies has put great effort into protecting the users of its network.

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