HealthlinkNY, a nonprofit that operates a health information exchange utilized by many Hudson Valley health care providers, will merge with another nonprofit information exchange operator in a deal that will create the state’s largest health information exchange provider.The Binghamton-based nonprofit announced this morning that it will merge into Syracuse-based HealtheConnections. The combined organization will span 26 counties in central New York and the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley regions.
HealthlinkNY’s exchange operates in the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley counties from Steuben in the west to Westchester in the southeast. HealtheConnections’ regional presence includes 11 counties in central and northern New York.
Health care information exchanges allow health care providers such as hospitals, laboratories and doctors’ offices to share patient records across a regional platform. The health records are not publicly accessible, care providers can only access a patient’s record after receiving the patient’s consent.
The state Department of Health oversees and funds eight separate nonprofit entities that are each building and managing a “network-within-a-network” for patient records in separate regions of the state. The state’s goal is to expand the use of each regional network to create a statewide network that connects them all, known as SHIN-NY, short for the Statewide Health Information Network of New York. As of last year, SHIN-NY connected 98 percent of hospitals in New York, along with more than 80,000 medical providers.
The two organizations announced a strategic partnership in October 2018, which eventually led to the decision to merge.
“We partnered with HealtheConnections because they have a proven record of success, and their quality of services and processes directly align with our mission,” said Staci Romeo, executive director of HealthlinkNY. “We’re thinking progressively, and as a combined entity, there will be operational efficiencies and increased value for our participants, stakeholders and partners as a single trusted resource.”
Rob Hack, president and CEO of HealtheConnections, will remain in both roles following the merger. Romeo will serve as the vice president of Strategic Community Engagement Services for the combined entity.
The merged organization will provide its information exchange to 4,100 participating providers in 1,800 locations in central New York and the Southern Tier region, with 4,600 participating providers and 1,000 locations in the Hudson Valley. The combined nonprofit will focus on growing its health information exchange, developing population health improvement initiatives and finding value-based care solutions within there service area, according to the announcement.