News / Article

COVID-19 Shines a Light on the Importance of Connectivity to Provide Patient Care

Stock photo of a nurse with a patient. Both are masked.

Rochester RHIO usually operates quietly behind the scenes, serving 1.5 million residents across 14 New York counties across the Greater Finger Lakes Region. But in a time of a public health emergency, its importance is pushed to the forefront.

As the healthcare ecosystem experienced significant disruptions and increased demands during the COVID-19 crisis, Rochester RHIO has been a vital partner. 

From the beginning of the pandemic, RHIO developed COVID-19 reports for each of the county health departments it serves. These reports sort, organize and simplify the data from nearly 50 laboratory sources for Covid-19 testing. Reports provide health officials with secure and quick access to new coronavirus data on a regular basis.

The pandemic also reinforced the importance of having physicians and clinical staff understand a patient’s compete health and medical history to provide the best care—especially when that care is delivered from a suddenly expanded and dispersed group of professionals. With the expansion of telehealth, changes to hospital procedures and limited routine health office hours, RHIO’s connection to the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) became critical for patient care. With consent, physicians and other front-line healthcare professionals have been able to view critical information such underlying conditions, hospitalizations, prescription medications and lab results—including flu and COVID-19 testing—to make more informed care decisions. And now, verbal RHIO consent has been authorized to facilitate the expansion of telemedicine services during the State of Emergency and in field hospitals.

More than a million area residents have consented with a signature to use this vital service, which is helping the region manage the current crisis and prepare for the future.