Tremendous Opportunity, Challenging Issues Facing a Growing Healthcare IT Market in Upstate NY

Friday, April 29, 2011

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Thirty professionals gathered Thursday afternoon at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Syracuse to discuss the future of healthcare delivery and how technology is changing the healthcare landscape. 

MedTech hosted the event, aimed at discovering how Upstate New York companies can capitalize on the region’s assets to capture a portion of the multibillion-dollar HIT market and fulfill the needs of local healthcare providers. 

The program’s featured speaker, Lisa Spellman, senior director of informatics at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, says there are tremendous opportunities and challenging issues in the present healthcare IT space. 

In New York, more than $840 million has been invested to date in state’s health information infrastructure, according to the New York State Department of Health Office of Health Information Technology Transformation. Most recently in the U.S., federal legislation has spurred a wave of healthcare IT activity with incentive programs and public health initiatives, including $33 billion dedicated to the Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs under Medicare and Medicaid. 

“The most significant healthcare IT opportunity is the potential to drive down the cost of healthcare,” said John Netti, Director of EHR Adoption Services forHealtheConnections, the Central New York Regional Health Information Organization. Netti was one of the panelists at the afternoon program. 

Right now eHealth is becoming more available in areas throughout the state, as New York builds what will become the Statewide Health Information Network for New York. Within the state’s eHealth initiative, the RHIOs play a significant role in building an interoperable, networked health information system. There are 12 RHIOs across New York state, each with its own health information exchange that connects all patient electronic medical information across each region. 

The challenges include timelines, workforce and workflow, according to Spellman. “They’re all very valid issues that are very interrelated,” she said during Thursday’s program. “And there are a lot of deadlines in play right now.”

Namely, the clock is ticking for healthcare professionals and eligible hospitals to start participating in the EHR incentive programs, and there is a lot of money on the table. Eligible professionals must begin their participation in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program by 2012 to receive the maximum incentive payment of $44,000 over five years, or $2 million for eligible hospitals. Medicaid eligible hospitals have only until 2016 to begin the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. 

Netti said that by the end of the year, 11 of the 19 hospitals in the Central New York region will be connected via HealtheConnections’ health information exchange. “There is a lot of work to be done in a short period of time,” said Netti.

Also on the panel with Netti was Dave Eilers, vice president of business development at Blue Highway, Craig Luce, president and general manager at EHR Integration Services, LLC, Dan Kerpelman, CEO of Bio-Optronics Inc., and Dr. David T. Page of FamilyCare Medical Group

MedTech is an active association of pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical technology companies, their suppliers and service providers, and research universities. We boost the growth and prosperity of our members by connecting them for collaboration, offering educational programs, sharing news and information, and advocating for the industry with government and leaders. Our mission is to develop the relationships, tools and programs that enable Upstate New York companies to bring tomorrow’s medical solutions to the healthcare marketplace. For more information, visit

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