HEALTHeLINK: 2019 Report to the Community


HEALTHeLINK: Its Working.

As we usher in a new decade, HEALTHeLINK continues to connect health care organizations throughout Western New York, allowing for the seamless exchange of clinical information to improve the quality of care, enhance patient outcomes, and mitigate health care costs. With the foundation of the health information exchange well established in Western New York, HEALTHeLINK is now taking the next steps to further leverage the clinical data already shared and adding claims data to enable growth areas such as population health and value-based care to better support health care providers and the patients they serve.


A message from our board chair.

A message from our executive director.

Meet the people leading the way for HEALTHeLINK – our Board of Directors.

HEALTHeLINK Board of Directors.

David Scamurra, MD – Chair

Pathologist, Eastern Great Lakes Pathology/X-Cell Laboratories of WNY

Art Wingerter – Vice Chair

President, Univera Healthcare

Anthony J. Billittier IV, MD, FACEP

Emergency Physician, UBMD – Emergency Medicine
Chief Medical Officer, Millennium Collaborative Care

Michael Cain, MD

Vice President of Health Sciences & Dean, School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo

Michael W. Cropp, MD – Past Chair

President & Chief Executive Officer, Independent Health Association

Andrew L. Davis, MBA

Chief Operating Officer, Erie County Medical Center

Cletis Earle

Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Kaleida Health

Michael F. Galang, DO

Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Catholic Health System

Ann Marie Odrobina

Administrative Vice President & Manager, Employee Benefits Administration, M&T Bank

Paul Pettit

Commissioner of Health, Orleans County Department of Health

Thomas E. Schenk, MD

Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York

Everett Weiss, MD

Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Chapter 1

Doing more with data.

HEALTHeLINK continues to increase efficiency for health care providers, enabling secure access to their patients’ health information. When a doctor has a more complete picture of the care their patients receive, they are more likely to schedule timely follow-up care, and duplicate testing is far less likely.

Delivering real results.

HEALTHeLINK’s clinical results delivery service (e.g., lab test results, radiology reports) enables practices and care coordination networks to easily receive clinical results for their patients directly into their electronic health records (EHRs) from other linked sources. This functionality enhances the ability to conduct pre-visit planning and reduces redundant tests, as information is immediately available for better medical decision-making.

More than 940,000 results delivered monthly

Results delivered increased 14% over the last year

Sending alert notifications in real time.

Our alert notifications deliver real-time updates to providers and care coordination networks regarding their patients’ hospital admissions, discharges, and transfers, including local emergency department visits. Immediate access to this information results in less time spent manually searching multiple systems for patient information, improved follow-up, avoidance of readmissions, and more frequent at-home care for patients.

More than 1 million patients subscribed for alert notifications to be sent to their doctors

1,036 providers subscribed to receive patient alerts

4,506,326 alerts delivered last year

Streamlining care with patient encounter data.

To more easily and securely share consented patients’ medical information with other providers involved in their care, HEALTHeLINK enables the delivery of patient encounter data from a doctor’s EHR. Hundreds of practices are sharing data by sending continuity of care documents (CCDs). This helps practices treating shared patients spend less time searching for patient information, allowing for more efficient data gathering for population health reporting – resulting in higher quality patient visits.

More than 5.9 million patient encounter records (CCDs) uploaded last year through HEALTHeLINK

More efficient patient medical record lookup.

With patient record lookup, participating providers can instantly access a consented patient’s clinical record, obtaining information, such as lab tests, radiology reports, medication history, and other relevant health information, that is crucial for care management. Armed with this updated information in real time, providers can more easily conduct pre-visit planning, avoid repeat tests, and make better medical decisions.

5,447,997 reports accessed annually

Helping to drive enhanced
health information exchange (HIE) adoption.

The Data Exchange Incentive Program (DEIP) was established by the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to increase HIE adoption across the state for Medicaid providers, including meaningful use–attested physician practices, long-term care providers, diagnostic and treatment centers, and behavioral health providers. The program is designed to help defray the cost of connecting to a local HIE, and organizations are incentivized for participating and contributing specific information to the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY). HEALTHeLINK facilitates both the enrollment and attestation processes for WNY practices, which to date have received approximately $1.4 million through DEIP. The result? Of the enrolled practices, 16% are in WNY and nearly 20% of the total statewide program spend has been in the WNY area.

Developing data quality reports.

The quality of patient information accessed via HEALTHeLINK depends on the quality and completeness of the information received from our data sources. HEALTHeLINK first developed data quality reports in 2018, focusing initially on the data coming into the exchange on CCDs. Since then, our reporting portfolio has expanded with the addition of rule sets to evaluate data completeness and quality to support value-based care programs such as Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) and patient-centered medical home (PCMH) programs. Additionally, we work with our physician practice data sources to provide the local payers with clinical information, reducing medical record chart reviews for the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS). We have also developed a set of rules to evaluate this data.

Chapter 2

Focusing on population health.

As population health and value-based care bring more focus to patients’ social needs, HEALTHeLINK is well positioned to provide critical infrastructure to and work with a broad range of organizations that form the fabric of community social networks. This improves health care, impacts an individual’s well-being, and addresses social determinants. Most importantly, HEALTHeLINK is taking necessary steps to enable a patient’s information to follow them whenever and wherever they receive care.

Leveraging new technologies to advance population health.

HEALTHeLINK’s project objective was to incorporate technologies to aggregate the rich clinical data available with payer claims data to support emerging value-driven reimbursement and population health initiatives.

The population health tool implemented as part of HEALTHeLINK’s project supports community health, value-based care, and ultimately clinical transformation across the WNY region aligning with the triple aim of better care, better health, and lower cost. Currently, provider access to data on cost and quality is fragmented by payer, and no other entity has the depth and breadth of clinical and claims data to which HEALTHeLINK has been entrusted.

Our vision is to leverage this unified data repository with the integration of clinical and claims data in order to deliver all payer performance reports to community providers. This will improve patient outcomes, as well as quality-of-care analysis at both the practice level and the specific provider level.

Creating a community solution for population health measures.

HEALTHeLINK continues to work on creating a community solution for producing population health measures that support programs such as CPC+ and PCMH. Combining claims data with the broad and deep clinical data that is part of HEALTHeLINK gives a unique opportunity to provide the most comprehensive and complete quality measure for patients. In support of this effort, HEALTHeLINK has completed the upload of historical claims from HealthNow and is actively working with Independent Health and Univera on uploading their claims. Also, NYS Department of Health has approved HEALTHeLINK to receive Medicaid claims.

Looking ahead.

As part of the Interoperability and Innovation grant program, HEALTHeLINK was granted five more projects, which are now underway through the first quarter of 2020. These projects are focused on clinical interoperability on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to simplify and increase data exchange, provide patients with access to their own data within the HIE, and improve patient outcomes through predictive analytics.

Chapter 3

Connecting state- and nationwide care.

While most health care is local, there may be times when a patient is in need away from home. Through partnerships with SHIN-NY and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), HEALTHeLINK is working to ensure patient-centered data is available whenever and wherever care occurs.

Completing New York State Department of Health recertification.

HEALTHeLINK completed the annual NYS DOH Qualified Entity (QE) recertification, once again passing without any compliance gaps. HEALTHeLINK continues to use the certification process to ensure patient data is securely managed through technology and procedural controls.

HEALTHeLINK continues to connect with the other QEs across New York State through SHIN-NY. With this connection, participating providers can securely access medical information on their consented patients who may have received care elsewhere in the state.

National alert capability.

HEALTHeLINK has gone live with the patient-centered data home (PCDH) national network and is now able to send alerts to WNY providers who have patients treated outside New York State. PCDH is an initiative of SHIEC, which is a national trade organization that includes more than 70 health information exchanges. These alert notifications enable providers to initiate additional data exchanges and access real-time information on their patients from other participating HIEs across the country. Once patients return home to WNY, their treating providers have a more complete picture of the care they received while away, resulting in timelier follow-up care and reduced duplicate testing.

Chapter 4

Making measurable progress.

With hundreds of data sources already connected and more in the pipeline, HEALTHeLINK is building its network to enable information when and where our participants need it – at the point of care.

HEALTHeLINK has 513 data sources including:

415 physician practices

46 long-term care facilities

27 hospitals

10 regional radiology providers

6 independent laboratory practices

5 home health care agency

Number of practices and providers sending data from EHRs:


Nearly 100% of laboratory results generated in WNY are available through HEALTHeLINK

More than 90% of radiology reports, including radiology images, generated in WNY are available through HEALTHeLINK

Reports available in HEALTHeLINK: more than 263 million (includes ADT, laboratory, radiology, transcriptions, telemonitoring, and discharge medications)

Reports added monthly: 2.1 million

Total participating providers – 6,272

Total participating practices – 1,228

Total number of users – 19,293

91% of WNY population consented


Looking ahead to 2020.

There’s no doubt that HEALTHeLINK is working, and that a significant number of physicians and providers across the area have overwhelmingly embraced what we’re doing. Now is the time for all provider organizations to fully utilize all the features HEALTHeLINK provides and help make our community even healthier.

To join or learn how to make better use of HEALTHeLINK, visit our website or call a member of our account management team at (716) 206-0993.