Senator Kemp Hannon
6th District New York

The New York State Senate approved legislation to establish a clinical information resource access program (CIRA) to provide information to medical institutions and facilities. The bill (S. 4991), sponsored by Health Chair Senator Kemp Hannon, begins to remedy the problem of inadequate access to increasingly expensive information resources.

“Patients and their families desire and deserve health care providers to be well educated in the best and most effective clinical practices available,” said Senator Hannon. “The Clinical Information Resource Access Program provides the mechanism for coordinated acquisition and dissemination of clinical medical information across New York,” Hannon continued.

The successful training of our health care professionals may begin at school - from a two-year college to a research university - but it continues throughout their career. Unfortunately the cost of maintaining a high level of proficiency depends upon access to the most current and authoritative evidence possible.

Across New York there are 194 hospitals, 640 nursing homes, more than 200 colleges and universities training nurses or conducting research, 47 federally qualified health clinics, and scores of public health departments and agencies. These institutions and providers employ a total workforce of nearly 800,000. Yet, many do not have access to up-to-date and reliable health care information. Of those institutions with in-house libraries (about 60 percent of hospitals) most are under-funded and lack adequate information access. The problem of access grows exponentially each year.

In 2009, over 845,000 research articles were added to the National Library of Medicine's database of current literature. Limited access to this unending wave of information makes it impossible for a practitioner to keep up on their own. It is also known that access to evidence-based clinical information directly impacts the quality, cost, and effectiveness of care. When health care professionals have access to the latest information they make more informed decisions, use limited resources more wisely and provide better solutions to patients.

By allowing the Department of Health to aggregate the purchasing power of New York's colleges, universities and research centers, wider access can be obtained at lower prices. From community college nursing programs to elite medical centers, more professionals will have access to more information.

This bill has passed the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor.

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