The LINK                                     March 2017/Issue 28
Percent of WNY practices who participate with HEALTHeLINK: 78%

Total number of patient consent forms signed: 916,544

Total results available through HEALTHeLINK: Nearly 195 million

Total number of patient record look up queries in HEALTHeLINK from January - February 2017: 379,319

Total number of practices sending data to HEALTHeLINK from their EMR: 43

Total number of practices getting results delivered from HEALTHeLINK into their EMR:  333
New Data Sources
Medina Memorial Hospital (Radiology Reports and Images)

Natera (Labs)

Donald W. Robinson MD 

Peter W. Forgach MD 

Umamaheswara Vejendla MD 

Westfield Family Physicians 

For a complete listing of data sources and participating practices, click here !
Top Users of HEALTHeLINK's Patient Record Look-up in 2016
  1. Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
  2. Catholic Health System
  3. Kaleida Health System
  4. Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  5. Erie County Medical Center
Physician Practices
  1. Dent Neurologic Institute
  2. WNY Urology
  3. General Physicians
  4. Buffalo Heart Group
  5. Nephrology Associates of WNY
  6. Landmark Health
  7. David Avino, MD
  8. Gastroenterology Associates
  9. UB Neurosurgery
  10. Windsong Radiology
Other Organization Types
  1. Greater Buffalo United Accountable Health Network
  2. Upstate New York Transplant Services
  3. Erie County Department of Health
  4. Health Home Partners of Western New York
  5. New York State Department of Health - Western Region
HEALTHeLINK Functionality: Did you know?
Throughout 2017, HEALTHeLINK will focus its adoption efforts in the following areas:
  1. Increased use of alert notifications throughout the community. These alerts, which notify providers and care coordination groups of a patient's admission or discharge from an area hospital, are an integral part of the continuity of care across community providers. In 2016, HEALTHeLINK delivered in excess of 230,000 alerts. In 2017, our goal is to deliver approximately 500,000 alerts.
  2. Adoption of HEALTHeLINK by practices and facilities serving the pediatric population. A 2016 change in New York State policy now allows access to data on minor patients 10-17 years of age. This change will help to provide more efficient access to data for pediatric practices. These practices have historically been unable to access many of their patient's records through HEALTHeLINK.
  3. Support of practices participating in New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program activities. We will work closely with the two Performing Provider Systems (PPS), in Western New York - Millennium Collaborative Care and Community Partners of Western New York - to ensure their partner organizations are using HEALTHeLINK appropriately.
For further information on any of these initiatives, please contact HEALTHeLINK at 716-206-0993 ext. 105.
Milestones reached for patient queries and alerts in 2016
With more data sources and physician practices utilizing HEALTHeLINK, approximately 2.5 million patient records were securely accessed through the exchange in 2016 alone.

Participating HEALTHeLINK providers are notified in real time with alert notifications of their patients' admissions, including emergency department visits and discharges and transfers from local hospitals and long term care facilities. Through this functionality, providers can be prepared sooner with the patients' transitions of care. As of yearend 2016, 816 providers have subscribed 300,254 of their patients for alert notifications. A total of 234,059 alerts were delivered in 2016.
2017 Focus on Emergency Departments
The study on usage of HEALTHeLINK in 3 separate EDs resulted in substantive benefits to the healthcare system and more importantly the patient (result report on the study and its findings can be found here).  In 2016, the utilization of HEALTHeLINK in WNY emergency departments doubled. However, there remain a number of emergency departments where HEALTHeLINK is underutilized. HEALTHeLINK will focus on working with local emergency departments and ED doctors and staff to increase the number of patient data queries. In addition to illustrating the value this patient information provides, HEALTHeLINK is also working to ease the workflow for providers and staff by implementing a single click access to the patient summary from within the ED EMR. Other outreach efforts include a focus on low ED utilizers to provide education on the benefits of utilizing HEALTHeLINK in this specific clinical setting. 
Access to consented minor patients now available
As a result of a change in New York State policy, participating providers can now securely access data through HEALTHeLINK for minor patients 10-17 years of age. Access to the data requires a parent or legal guardian signing an affirmative HEALTHeLINK consent form on behalf of the minor patient.
"This change in state policy gives parents and legal guardians the peace of mind that their child's treating pediatrician or specialist will have the most up to date health information," said Dan Porreca, HEALTHeLINK's executive director. "For a child who may see several different physicians, having access to this information will allow for better and more efficient care. It is also helpful in those instances when the child's grandparent or another caregiver brings them for an appointment and they do not have the child's medical history readily available."
The ability to access data for a minor 10-17 years of age is the result of changes to a New York State policy regarding access to patient data through a Qualified Entity (QE) such as HEALTHeLINK. Consent for children younger than 10 years of age has and will continue to allow access for treating physicians. Participating providers need to be aware that it is possible that the minor patient's record may contain sensitive information that is protected under New York State law and may not be re-disclosed to the minor's parent or guardian without the minor's written consent. This information includes, but may not be limited to reproductive health services, mental health or substance use treatment, HIV testing and STD treatment or services consented to by an emancipated minor.  

For more information on access to minor patient data based on a parental consent, please contact HEALTHeLINK at 716-206-0993 ext. 105.
2016 Report to the Community now available
As the regional health information organization (RHIO) for Western New York for the past decade, HEALTHeLINK is committed more than ever to sharing clinical information in efficient and meaningful ways to improve the delivery of care, enhance patient outcomes and help control health care costs. Learn more about how medical professionals are safely accessing relevant medical information, with patient consent, from across Western New York and beyond by using HEALTHeLINK and the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY) for more timely and effective treatment.
HEALTHeLINK'S 2016 Report to the Community is now available to view online at
Image Transfer to PACS
Participating radiology providers now have the ability to transfer radiology images from HEALTHeLINK into their own Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). This functionality helps radiologists save time when looking for previous scans, and it enables more comparative studies in determining diagnoses and future treatments. Windsong Radiology was the first practice to participate, and HEALTHeLINK is in the early stages of image transfer rollout to other radiology providers throughout the region. 
New and Improved 24/7 HEALTHeLINK Support Services Coming
Over the next several weeks, HEALTHeLINK will be introducing an enhanced support service for reporting of any questions or issues relative to the delivery of HEALTHeLINK and HEALTHeNET services. The support line staff have been trained in the handling of all support requests. To help facilitate this transition, we have added a local support line phone number and the ability to log a support request by e-mail.
This 24/7 service is available by calling 1-877-895-4724 or 1-716-842-6343.
HEALTHeLINK in the News

Buffalo News: New state policy allows doctors access to younger patients' electronic health data

Healthcare Informatics: HEALTHeLINK providers can now access patient data for minors

Healthcare IT News: New law enables New York clinicians to access patient data for minors via state HIE

Health IT Security: NY clarifies minor patient data access, maintains security

HIPAA Journal: New York rule change allows clinicians to access minors' PHI via state HIE

Lockport Union Sun & Journal: Health info share now includes minors

Niagara Frontier Publications: Physicians now have access to minor patient health data through clinical information exchange

WIVB: Medical records change


What people are saying about HEALTHeLINK
Hear firsthand from various local health care leaders about the value and benefits of health information exchange in Western New York with the HEALTHeLINK Medical Minute.  


Proud to be part of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY)

Proud member of SHIEC (Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative)