Building the Foundation of Quality Healthcare

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Family Health Network of Central New York, Inc.
City & State:
New York
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Family Health Network will provide quality healthcare to the residents of underserved areas within Cortland and adjacent counties and support our employees while maintaining the financial viability of the organization.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Family Health Network of Central New York, Inc. (FHN), a non-profit community health center established in 1972, consists of five health centers, one dental clinic and four school-based health centers in Cortland and Cayuga counties. FHN not only serves as the primary safety net provider for this part of Central New York, but in three of the communities served, FHN is the only primary care provider.

FHN is in the beginning stages of implementing a comprehensive multi-phased health information technology (HIT) plan developed to address the growing trend and need to move primary health care to an electronically connected system. President Obama has made health technology including electronic health records (EHRs) and their private, secure exchange a centerpiece of his plan for health reform.

As noted in the category description, without a stable foundation in place, it would prove almost impossible to take on the more complex and impactful technology initiatives such as the practice management and EHR system FHN needs to continue to provide the necessary health services in the rural communities we serve.

FHN, through donations made at TechSoup, has built its internal infrastructure from the ground up. This new infrastructure includes servers running Microsoft products such as Windows 2003 operating system, Exchange 2007, and Microsoft Office 2007. FHN will be using Thin clients running Windows XPe for their new practice management and electronic health records systems during the second phase of their HIT plan.

FHN had been using an out of date version of Novell Groupwise Client, and found through end-user experience and through the intensive selection processes and readiness assessments that we completed for electronic health records implementation that we needed to not only upgrade our system, but make the transition to a platform that was recognized as the “top of the line” product for performance, security, and support. We needed to be able to connect eleven remote sites, and supply our employees with reliable, easy to use logins and email in order to communicate inside and outside the organization prior to being able to even consider making the transition to electronic health records.

This phase was the building block for what is to come for our organization. Now that we as an organization can communicate effectively, schedule efficiently with shared calendars, and have a secure infrastructure that we can build upon we can move to the next phase of our HIT plan and begin implementing a new practice management and electronic health records system.

Through the use of electronic health records our health centers and providers will be able to do the following:

For Our Patients:

  • Improved longevity and health status
  • Reduced reliance on memory or incomplete records when seeing multiple physicians
  • Complete medical records
  • Improved access to personal medical data
  • Improved access to test results in a timely fashion
  • Reduction in the cost of care as a result of reduction in duplicate clinical tests
  • Improved ability to self-manage chronic disease
  • Improved privacy and security safeguards

For Our Health Care Providers:

  • Improved satisfaction among patients
  • Remote access to patients' charts and speed of access to more complete medical data
  • Reduction in lost charts
  • Incorporation of standards to help improve patient outcomes and reduce medical errors
  • Accurate and actionable medical information in a secure and private form, when and where it is needed by the clinicians who care for patients
  • Templates that improve charge capture and documentation while reducing risks of fines associated with audits
  • Improved timeliness of data
  • Reduced reliance on manual transcriptions
  • Secure, backed-up, accessible medical data in case of a natural or man-made disaster

For Our Communities We Serve:

  • Decreased long-term cost of care resulting from a healthier population utilizing screening reminders and best practice alerts for wellness management
  • Reduced excess health system cost or usage
  • Positions FHN, as an organization, to be able to maximize revenue sources which are then “reinvested” to provide services to uninsured and under-insured individuals and families in the communities served at discounted rates
  • Automated bi-directional, standards-based reporting of critical public health information to state and local public health agencies, allowing us to monitor health trends and follow interventions over time

Going Green:

  • Reduce paper usage by creating and distributing electronic memos, newsletters, and internal communications using Microsoft Outlook
  • Reduced the number of cars on the road, mileage, and emissions by creating and presenting electronic training programs using Microsoft PPT and publisher (limiting the need for staff to travel from 11 remote sites to one conference location)
  • Reduced vehicle emissions by decreasing the mileage traveled by a courier to deliver paper charts, memos, minutes etc.
  • Maintained current energy/power consumption by using Thin clients running Windows XPe, despite the fact that FHN has just added 120 new computing devices to our system

In today’s economy where unemployment is high, and the lack of healthcare coverage is growing even among those who retain their jobs, our services are needed at a growing rate. The ability of Family Health Network to offer healthcare services to patients regardless of their ability to pay has been greatly enhanced by the help of Microsoft donations and TechSoup. A solid infrastructure based upon Microsoft products supporting a practice management and electronic health records system allows Family Health Network to continue its mission of providing quality health care to your whole family.

Submission Category
Stable and Secure Technology
Project Image
FHN services bar.JPG
Supporting Work Files