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DEPUTY for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley and I recently announced that the use of electronic health records has led to better health outcomes for tens of thousands New Yorkers in the critical areas of high blood pressure management, diabetes and tobacco control.

New York City’s introduction of electronic health records, which has become a national model, was a result of the Primary Care Information Project, a program that began in 2005 to help medical providers, particularly those with underserved patients, use technology to improve the quality and efficiency of health care.

The prompts that electronic health records give doctors, such as signaling a daily dose of aspirin to prevent heart disease or follow up questions for someone who smokes, make a dramatic difference in how aggressively they treat the chronic health conditions of their patients.

Through 3,200 primary care providers serving more than three million New Yorkers with electronic health records, over 96,000 additional patients reduced their high blood pressure, 81,000 patients improved their diabetes management and an additional 58,000 smokers were given assistance and successfully quit.

Our administration has focused on improving health care in New York by empowering health care providers — at every level — as well as their patients.

We’ve focused on expanding the use of preventive care to tackle some of the biggest health challenges we face: heart and respiratory diseases; diabetes; and high blood pressure.

The development and expanded use of electronic health records has given doctors the tools to improve both the length and quality of New Yorkers’ lives and it is rewarding to see the program become a national model.

The Primary Care Information Project was started in New York City by Dr. Farzad Mostashari under then-Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden as a $27 million city initiative to use technology to improve the quality and efficiency of health care throughout the five boroughs, especially in some of New York City’s medically underserved neighborhoods: East and Central Harlem, the South Bronx, and Central Brooklyn.

More than 3,200 medical providers treating three million New Yorkers received electronic health record software and training to learn how to use it in their practices.

Patients served by doctors participating in the program were, for example, reminded to take daily aspirin doses to prevent heart disease or counseled to quit smoking.

Electronic Health Records also permit doctors to view data on their entire population of patients, which helps them modify their routine office practices to help all of their patients and then evaluate how well those changes work.

For more information about the Primary Care Information Project, visit nyc.gov