1. What is the name of the company of whom you have the Strategic IT Plan for?
The Health IT Strategic Plan put to analysis in this work concerns the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). As a governance body, it controls the number of inferior entities responsible for healthcare aspects statewide. Accordingly, the Strategic IT Plan also addresses the New York Health Information Technology Evaluation Collaborative (HITEC), Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs), Community Health Information Technology Adoption Collaborative (CHITA) and some other organizations. Collectively they are engaged in IT programs under the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) and Statewide Collaborative Process. Specifically, the Plan is designed and controlled by the Office of Health Information Technology Transformation (OHITT), which is in charge of all NYSDOH health IT programs and policies (NYSDOH OHITT, 2009, p. 16).
2. What kind of company is it within the field of Healthcare?
The NYSDOH is the main administrative entity responsible for the state’s public health. The Department provides strategic healthcare leadership and operates through the network of regional and district offices. There are two major NYSDOH branches: Public Health and Health Systems Management. All IT-related activities within the Department are carried out by OHITT. The NYeC, which is a public-private partnership responsible for the health information exchange infrastructure, controls the IT coordination statewide (NYSDOH OHITT, 2009, p. 16).
3. What kind of information does the Strategic IT Plan contain?
The Strategic IT Plan provides the insight into the statewide Healthcare IT System and steps for its advancement, e.g. investments, organizational measures, technical and regulatory framework etc. Brief overview of the Health IT importance is followed by the high-level description of IT programs and consequent funding demands. Those are revolving around the HEAL NY, a major statewide program that had been awarded a total of $492 million of investments to the date of IT Plan release. The most important goal of the IT strategy defined in the Plan is to achieve the high level of EHR (Electronic Health Records) liquidity throughout the whole IT infrastructure. This means increasing the interoperability of EHRs by perfection of the Statewide Health Information Network (SHIN-NY). Consequently, IT Strategic Plan presents the technical framework architecture of SHIN-NY with the dataflow description. Since the IT healthcare information is processed in the heterogeneous and constantly changing environment, specific protocols with the highest abstraction level are used. What is important, the Strategic IT Plan addresses IT healthcare needs not only from the clinics infrastructure perspective but also with regard to the consumer and community. Consumer education, as well as the accessibility of healthcare information also takes a major part in the Plan.
4. What kind of information does the Strategic IT Plan not contain that you would like to have seen in the IT Plan?
The Strategic IT Plan is released in March 2009, whereas the HEAL NY program funding had begun in 2004 (NYSDOH OHITT, 2009, p. 5). However, there is no mentioning of any ongoing activities or indications as for when they are going to be completed, which could, logically, be the part of the strategic continuity. On the organizational side, it is not clear where the responsibilities’ boundaries lay for each of IT Healthcare structures. Since the Plan is rather high-level, the lack of technical details is understandable. However, indications about the supposed use of certain modern technologies and plans for upgrading the obsolete systems would contribute to the comprehensibility of the Strategy. Finally, supplementing the Plan with the set of goals tied to the firm schedule few years ahead would also help to form a strategic view.
5. Please relate the importance of knowing the company’s Strategic IT Plan to concepts that you have learned from Strategic IT plan that has enhanced your knowledge about Health Information Systems. Be very detailed with your response for this answer.
Understanding the IT strategy is essential to develop the comprehensive and integral view on the Health Information System. As Plan concerns the statewide health IT, the complexity of the task is significant. The orderly, vertically-integrated Information system such as SHIN-NY relays the advanced and well thought-off global IT policy behind it. Developed to serve both the clinics and patients demands it incorporates features, specific to the NY state, while complying with the national health information exchange regulations.
The core of the technological design represented by the Enterprise Service Bus is of particular interest. The multi-layer architecture is service-driven and operates the health data exchange by means of specific protocols. Those are combined in the four-tier protocol stack (CHIxP), designated to ensure the flawless inter-layer communication. The technology is web-based and easily extendable to service the Health Information Systems of regional offices (RHIOs).
The idea of health data liquidity or the ability of EHR to be processed throughout the heterogeneous IT environment seems to be trivial; however, the implementation is rather sophisticated. In this regard the description of ‘protocol-driven, late binding architecture’ (PDLBA) is sufficiently informative. This approach looks more beneficial for the integration purposes than trying to impose the standardized protocols upon the diverse set of Health IT systems.
Finally, it is noticeable that the State Health IT Plan really pursuits the customer interest, demonstrating the NYSDOH ability to design and build a modern IT infrastructure in correspondence with the Federal Health IT Agenda. Overall, the Strategic IT Plan brings the confidence in the achievability of its goals, provided that the Government funding intervention will follow.