FAQs

What is HEALTHeLINK?

HEALTHeLINK is a collaboration among hospitals, physicians, health plans, and other health care providers in the eight counties of western New York State to securely exchange clinical information to improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety and mitigate health care costs. HEALTHeLINK, a not-for-profit organization, is the Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) for Western New York.

Why was HEALTHeLINK created?

HEALTHeLINK was created to improve the quality and delivery of care through the secure electronic exchange of clinical information. Broader, quicker and secure access to medical information translates into better clinical outcomes, improved efficiency and overall improved safety for the Western New York health care consumer.

What are the benefits of HEALTHeLINK?

HEALTHeLINK seamlessly creates a network among providers in the health care community to improve the quality of care for their patients. Through HEALTHeLINK, providers have secure access to the most current information on their consented patients all in one place. This process enables more informed decisions on the patient’s behalf and also has the potential to help address unnecessary health care costs, i.e. duplication of the same test by different doctors.

What is the difference between HEALTHeLINK and an electronic medical record (EHR) system?

HEALTHeLINK is a network that allows for the secure sharing of patient health information between providers such as a primary care physician’s office and a hospital emergency room. An EHR is a computer-based digital record securely stored on a computer and software system that contains your health information. HEALTHeLINK enables the information contained in an EHR to be shared with your other treating providers.

Who will have access to my electronic medical history?

HIPAA and New York State rules protecting privacy and control of medical information will remain the same.

The patient holds the key for their health care providers to access their medical information via HEALTHeLINK.  In order for a patient’s health information to be accessed by their treating providers, a patient needs to sign a consent form. More information about the HEALTHeLINK consent process and the form can be found here.

What if I don’t want my medical information shared via HEALTHeLINK?

The patient holds the key for their health care providers to access their medical information via HEALTHeLINK.  In order for a patient’s health information to be accessed by their treating providers, a patient needs to sign a consent form. More information about the HEALTHeLINK consent process and the form can be found here.

Will HEALTHeLINK be able to protect me from being a victim of identity theft? What about security matters such as breaking into the system, or if a computer is stolen?

HEALTHeLINK takes the responsibility of the protection and security of patient health information very seriously and it remains among our highest priorities. HEALTHeLINK uses state-of-the-art security features that include multiple levels of password protection to ensure authorized user access and that patient health information in kept private and confidential. As new security technologies are developed, we continue to enhance our efforts to keep patient health information as secure as possible, including using sophisticated encryption when health data is sent via email.

Aren’t paper records safer than sharing consumer health information electronically via the Internet?

No. Unlike paper records, every time patient medical information is accessed through HEALTHeLINK the users leaves an “electronic fingerprint.” This access can be audited to ensure that patient health information is only being viewed by the health care providers for which the patient has approved access.

Can I access my records in HEALTHeLINK directly?

HEALTHeLINK is a service for your health care providers to get better access to your medical information specifically to improve the care they provide to you. The information is not currently available directly to patients. If you want to access your own medical information, please speak with your doctor.