New York City and Denver’s Successful Implementation of Health Information Exchange Systems in Public Health

Rationale / Objectives

It is vital to utilize the near-real time and small area data to measure the performance of community chronic disease prevention programs. However, in 2013, majorities of healthcare sites in US used annual reports of large-area surveys like the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the Behavioural Risk Factor Survey (BRFS). Meanwhile, risk factors such as obesity, blood pressure and smoking are recorded daily in medical records across the community. Therefore, it is necessary for public health to collect those data from communities in a timely manner.

Project/Program Description & Major Achievements

In New York City and Denver, the Health Departments initiated Health Information Exchange systems (HIE) to connect with health data from different healthcare practices. HIE potentially delivered more timely access to health records in a small area, which created chances to promote evidence-based prevention in both the clinic and the community. In New York, over 9,055 providers received EHR and Meaningful Use assistance in 2013.


Lessons Learned

New York City was the first to implement HIE in US; thus, there was limited interest from healthcare providers regarding the HIE system. That required lots of time and effort to establish awareness among healthcare sites. Denver, on the other hand, learned to carefully choose the right HIE system to implement within its healthcare sites depending on the hospitals’ margin.

Further Description

In 2005, New York City founded the PCIP program in collaboration with the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS), this helped to allow over 3,000 primary care providers to use electronic health records (EHRs). This system simplifies data exchange by using a single EHR system. This allows the health department to monitor the clinical statistics, by geographic area or practice; this allows for targeting and evaluating community interventions more quickly to maintain what the population needs. PCIP helps practices use the HER’s decision to improve preventative care, and how to improve patient-care in real-time events.In Denver, Colorado: Denver Health, Kaiser Permanente of Colorado, Children’s Hospital of Colorado, the University of Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are using a standardized open-source approach to electronic medical records called PopMedNet. This software allows data providers to supply data of elevated BMI and tobacco use for small area mapping without submitting any of the individuals’ personal health information. 

Major Achievements

In New York, over 9,055 providers received EHR and Meaningful Use assistance in 2013.



Additional Detail

  • 1,118 small practices
  • 75 community health centers
  • 26 hospitals & outpatient clinics  
NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (2013)