Why HealthlinkNY Continues to Grow

November 15th, 2016 - Two influential HIT publications—Advance Healthcare Network for Health Information Professionals and Patient Engagement IT— had interesting things to say about HealthlinkNY in October. 

The story of HealthlinkNY’s evolution has captured national interest. Growing from a four-county regional health information organization (RHIO) to a leading New York State Qualified Entity (QE) operating in 13 New York State counties and the Twin Tiers region of New York-Pennsylvania, HealthlinkNY is a study in the importance of adapting to the changing needs of providers—and patients as well.

In “Creating a Successful Health Information Exchange,” published in Advance Healthcare Network for Health Information Professionals in October, HealthlinkNY President and CEO Christina Galanis writes about the QE’s challenges and triumphs of the last 16 years, and its willingness to seize new opportunities.

Galanis recounts HealthlinkNY’s milestones: launching as Southern Tier HealthLink, one of the state’s first RHIOs, in 2005; merging with Taconic Health Information Network and Community (THINC) in 2015; choosing the right technology partner, and making talent the nucleus of growth and success. Throughout it all has been HealthlinkNY’s relentless pursuit of improving its product and service.

“One of the most vital keys to our success has been our focus on the future and our willingness to continue evolving so we are better-serving healthcare providers at all times,” Galanis writes. “At the same time, we must continue our primary mission of connecting more healthcare organizations and providers to the HIE.”  Galanis says HealthlinkNY intends to further leverage existing and new HIE data. “We are focused on using analytics to drive research, clinical trials, and payer reporting. We are also working on new ways for de-identified and identified data to improve current workflows.”

In “Patient Preferences Key to HIE Patient Access to Health Data,” published last month in Patient Engagement HIT, Galanis argues that patients aren’t well served if they have to take many steps to view, download, and print their HIE records so they can review them with their providers. “Does that really happen? I don’t know. From what I’m hearing, no,” she tells the publication.

She recommends leveraging the immediacy of the smartphone, saying, “Giving [patients] immediate and current updates directly on their phone—and not requiring them to log in—educates and enables patients, and involves them and engages them in their care.”

In the article, Galanis says HealthlinkNY is looking to deliver information to patients as they wish to receive it, just as it does to providers. “Expecting a patient to log into a portal is not the direction we’re going in,” she says. “It’s nice to have it, but we’re moving more towards targeting smartphones.”