HEALTHeLINK: 2022 Report to the Community


HEALTHeLINK: Its Working.

For nearly 15 years, HEALTHeLINK has been successful in securely exchanging clinical information among hospitals, physicians, health plans, and other providers involved in patient care. Now, we are taking this unprecedented level of collaboration a step further by building on our current health information exchange (HIE) infrastructure to support strategies to increase access to care and reduce health disparities. The end goal? Better health outcomes for our entire population.


A message from our board chair.

Dr. Anthony Billittier, FACEP

Chair, HEALTHeLINK Board of Directors
Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Independent Health

Over the past two years as HEALTHeLINK’s board chair, I have seen firsthand how HEALTHeLINK continues to bring together and connect our health care delivery system to improve the quality and efficiency of care. Of note, this past year was the merging of Population Health Collaborative and the Regional Health Improvement mission into HEALTHeLINK, an alignment that will further drive higher-quality care, control costs, and improve the health and wellness of the people in Western New York.

Announced in June, the merging of Population Health Collaborative into HEALTHeLINK will improve health equity and health outcomes for at-risk and underserved populations. This partnership combines the unique strengths of HEALTHeLINK’s secure and reliable technology infrastructure for the timely and accurate electronic exchange of clinical information with Population Health Collaborative’s experience in bringing together community resources to deliver hands-on health and wellness programming. It will further expand these opportunities by utilizing clinical data to identify areas of the community in need and create a baseline to determine the success of programs focused on improving health over time.

Underscoring the phrase, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” this merger will be a catalyst for addressing health inequities and improving the overall health and well-being of our region. This “whole” of HEALTHeLINK with Population Health Collaborative is a unique opportunity to create a powerful and data-driven organization that will support all sectors of our region – from community-based organizations to businesses to doctors’ offices – with the data and assistance they need to make real improvement in the health of this region.

I have long said there are learnings and opportunities that can come from a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes to health disparities and highlighted the urgent need for change. While we still have a long way to go, HEALTHeLINK continues taking the important, incremental steps to help lead this change that is so desperately needed.

A message from our executive director.

Daniel Porreca

Executive Director, HEALTHeLINK

Over the past 15 years, HEALTHeLINK has built the infrastructure to securely exchange clinical data, along with a robust suite of services to help our participating providers with the information they need at the point of care. With the combination of both clinical data with claims data, providers also understand the quality of care being delivered and any gaps in care for their panel of patients. But the data alone doesn’t create value; it’s what’s done with the data to improve health outcomes. This concept has served as the basis for an exciting new opportunity to support population health, health equity, and quality improvement initiatives.

Earlier this year, we announced the merging of Population Health Collaborative and the Regional Health Improvement mission into HEALTHeLINK to expand the utilization of clinical data to help increase access to care and reduce health disparities. Essentially, we’re combining HEALTHeLINK’s clinical data with Population Health Collaborative’s experience in bringing together community resources to improve the overall health and wellness of our community.

To significantly move the needle in improving health outcomes for our entire population, the community needs to focus on understanding social determinants of health for individuals. One’s medical history is only part of their overall health picture. Not having access to transportation for a doctor’s visit or having access to healthy foods, as a couple examples, are critical factors that need to be addressed when it comes to preventative care and managing and controlling chronic conditions.

With the groundwork firmly laid by both HEALTHeLINK and Population Health Collaborative, we are excited to see what can be accomplished when we come together to focus on population health by confronting health equity and addressing social determinants of health.

Meet the HEALTHeLINK Board of Directors.

HEALTHeLINK Board of Directors.

Anthony J. Billittier, MD, FACEP – Chair

Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Independent Health

Art Wingerter – Vice Chair

President, Univera Healthcare

Allison Brashear, MD, MBA

Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo

Andrew L. Davis, MBA

Chief Operating Officer, Erie County Medical Center

Michael J. Edbauer, DO, MBA

President, Highmark Western and Northeastern New York

Michael F. Galang, DO

Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Catholic Health System

Michael Mineo, MD

Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Kaleida Health

Eileen Morgan

Consumer Representative

Pastor George F. Nicholas

Chair, Buffalo Center for Health Equity

Anne Marie Odrobina

Group Vice President, Employee Benefits & Wellness, M&T Bank

Paul Pettit

Commissioner of Health, Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments

Raghu Ram, MD

Vice President of Value-Based Care Optimization and Community Clinical Collaboration, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Sourav Sengupta, MD, MPH

Program Director, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Pediatrics, Jacobs School of Medicine, University at Buffalo

Chapter 1

Focus on health factors.

In the spirit of ongoing collaboration to improve the health in Western New York, HEALTHeLINK is building on its HIE foundation to further focus on overall population health, specifically addressing social determinants of health and improving health equity.

Population Health Collaborative joins HEALTHeLINK.

Aimed at driving higher-quality care, controlling costs, and improving the health and wellness of Western New Yorkers, we announced the merging of Population Health Collaborative and the Regional Health Improvement mission into HEALTHeLINK.

Aligning our organizations will further expand the utilization of data through a regional network of community-based organizations and community health champions to inform, support, and promote strategies to improve the health status of Western New Yorkers, increase access to care, and reduce health disparities. To further address health inequities, clinical data will be used to identify areas of the community in need and create a baseline to determine the success of programs focused on improving health over time. This move will also enhance the delivery of health care services among providers in the region who are already connected with the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY).

HEALTHeLINK has also established the regional health improvement committee to help guide the continuation of Population Health Collaborative’s Live Well Western New York in addition to informing an enhanced focus on ongoing activities around health equity.

Chapter 2

Demonstrating value.

HEALTHeLINK continues to demonstrate the value of utilizing HIE by illustrating its impact on reducing duplication and hospital stays and re-admissions, and increasing efficiency for providers in several studies conducted in recent years, including our most recent projects centered on population health.

Utilizing population health management tools for better outcomes.

With support from the Milbank Memorial Fund, HEALTHeLINK conducted a study to examine if population health analytics helped to improve care quality and efficiency in primary care practices enrolled in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) program. This federal program provided resources and incentives for primary care providers to improve quality, access, and efficiency of care.

The study assessed data collected from four different groups of practices in Western New York that had similar patient populations. Outcomes among the four groups were measured from January 1 through December 31, 2020. The study results showed that when HEALTHeLINK’s population health management tool, HEALTHeOUTCOMESTM, and CPC+ are in place at the same time, practices tend to have significantly better outcomes compared with instances in which only one or none of the programs are in place. While the CPC+ program and other value-based payment programs create incentives to reach higher goals, HEALTHeOUTCOMES provided the means for reaching such goals with real-time access to how providers are doing compared to quality measures.

Reducing disparities through technology solutions.

HEALTHeLINK is a participant in Building Bridges to Better Health: A Primary Health Care Challenge sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The goal of this multiphase challenge is to enhance access and care coordination to achieve better health and reduce disparities by utilizing technical assistance solutions. HEALTHeLINK was selected as one of only 27 Phase 1 winners from across the country to help secure funding for our project and has moved on to Phase 2 of the challenge.

HEALTHeLINK’s project focuses on the design and development of its HEALTHeQUALITY™ technical assistance solution that supports Federally Qualified Health Centers to advance health equity. HEALTHeQUALITY is currently in production to collect and measure improvement of patient outcomes.

Chapter 3

Expanding HIE services.

With its technical infrastructure firmly in place, HEALTHeLINK continues to add to its robust suite of offerings to help drive efficiencies and improve overall quality of care when it comes to the clinical data needed immediately at the point of care.

Emergency Department Summary Report.

By utilizing intelligent query, HEALTHeLINK launched an Emergency Department Summary Report with Erie County Medical Center. Now, HEALTHeLINK can immediately generate specific queries for a predefined set of data when a patient has been registered at ECMC’s emergency department. In this case, data elements include patient demographics, allergies, immunizations, medications, conditions and programs, social history, results, and vital signs, which are generated as a PDF and delivered to ECMC’s electronic health record (EHR). A user does not need to be logged in to HEALTHeLINK, and the summary report retrieves only predefined information as opposed to returning the entire patient record.

Technology behind the technology.

HEALTHeLINK is dedicated to supporting providers with the clinical information they need to be more efficient and, in turn, to improve quality of care. Throughout 2022, the HEALTHeLINK team worked on a variety of different projects focused on improving the HIE foundation and enhancing the services offered to our participants across the health care community.

Key projects completed this year include once again obtaining National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) certification and aggregated continuity of care document dissemination to health plans in support of Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) reporting, expansion of data sources through eHealth Exchange, a roster-based solution in HEALTHeOUTCOMES to broaden usage capabilities, and support for several research and analytics efforts, including deprescribing, cross-sector transitional care management, influenza, Health Electronic Response Data System (HERDS), and COVID-19.

This year, the HEALTHeLINK team worked on a total of 83 different projects, closing 42.

Since 2016, a total of 277 projects have been completed

Chapter 4

From data to wisdom.

As health care continues to move toward value-based care, HEALTHeLINK is well-positioned to support this transition with the robust data needed to support the community population’s health initiatives. Today and beyond, it’s all about utilizing the data we have and expanding its usage to help close gaps and further address the health and wellness needs in our community. The goal is to build a community health dashboard that shows how we are achieving certain health outcomes in different areas of Western New York and be able to stratify by race, geography, and other socioeconomic factors. With our new Regional Health Improvement focus, we are aggressively working to achieve this goal.

Improving data quality.

With this increased emphasis on data, HEALTHeLINK has been laser-focused on ensuring the quality of the data available through the HIE. We continue to initiate data quality improvement scorecards to ensure all clinical data received from participants is complete and structured to measure development and reporting. We have also implemented additional data onboarding to ensure high-quality standards for new practices and are continuing to work with our data sources to improve what they submit to HEALTHeLINK.

New population health-related services.

Creating efficiencies for health plans.

With NCQA certification through the Data Aggregator Validation (DAV) program, HEALTHeLINK serves as a data source to health plans for supporting HEDIS measure calculations. Our DAV certification provides efficiency improvements for health plans in obtaining this critically important clinical data on their members with less disruption to busy physician practices. It also allows for greater alignment in quality measurement programs between the provider and the health plan with the ability to address gaps in care in real time.

Custom metric reporting.

Through HEALTHeOUTCOMES, we are working to create customized analytics based on what individual practices need to achieve their respective goals around operational outcomes, quality improvement, and gaps in care. Whether it’s identifying high-risk patients, targeted child and adolescent immunization reporting, or supporting proactive outreach to chronic condition registries tied in with admission and re-admission reporting, we’re able to help practices package and view their data in a new, efficient way and often in real time.

Community research support.

With both clinical and claims data available from the eight counties of Western New York, one of HEALTHeLINK’s strategic goals is to increase our support for local research efforts. Whether for a research project or a clinical trial, data is more readily available to support our partnership with University at Buffalo, as we’ve assisted their researchers in obtaining data on key clinical quality metrics, hospital utilization, and specific populations.

Meeting custom data requirements.

Because we understand the various data needs of practices, HEALTHeLINK is developing flexible solutions that can create efficiencies and deliver more targeted, actionable data based on the preferences of each practice when combined with clinical data.

For example, building on HEALTHeLINK’s current alert notification functionality, customized alerts can be developed to meet the needs of a specific practice based on diagnosis or other clinical data or triggers. Another example is the ability to develop system-to-system queries to pull specific data elements to support practice workflows. This is just the beginning of a customized approach with development underway to automate imaging workflows, enhance emergency department summary reports, and automate pre-visit planning queries.

Chapter 5

State and nationwide collaboration.

HEALTHeLINK continues to demonstrate its HIE leadership in collaborating with similar organizations across the state and country to leverage and share best practices for improved quality of care.

Collaborating statewide.

Through the SHIN-NY, HEALTHeLINK continues to exchange data with other Qualified Entities (QEs) across New York State. With this connection, participating providers can securely access clinical information on their consented patients who may receive care elsewhere in the state.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, HEALTHeLINK and other QEs were called on to provide reporting and data to help state and local researchers with modeling of the spread of the virus. The ability of QEs to alert doctors on their patients’ COVID lab results and vaccination status continues to provide value to state and local regions.

On behalf of HEALTHeLINK, we thank Western New York’s state delegation for their continued advocacy and support of funding for the SHIN-NY and our ongoing efforts to enhance patient care.

Collaborating nationwide.

Civitas Networks for Health is a national collaborative composed of member organizations to use health information exchange, health data, and multi-stakeholder, cross-sector approaches to improve health. Civitas represents more than 170 local health innovators across the country, moving data to improve health outcomes for more than 95% of the United States population.

HEALTHeLINK staff and stakeholders collaborate with their counterparts from across the country on various working committees. Executive Director Dan Porreca has also been appointed to the 2023 Civitas Networks for Health Board of Directors, further strengthening the link between the two organizations.

Chapter 6

HEALTHeLINK by the numbers.

By understanding the need to have current health information immediately available at the point of care, HEALTHeLINK continues to connect data sources and provide needed reports to ensure better medical decision-making and improved continuity of patient care.

Results delivery.

HEALTHeLINK’s results delivery service enables participating providers to receive clinical results, such as lab tests, radiology reports, and images, for their patients directly within their EHR. This functionality enhances the ability for providers to conduct pre-visit planning and reduces duplicate tests with information available in real time.

1,101,799 results delivered monthly

Results delivered increased 16% over the last year

Alert notifications.

With HEALTHeLINK’s alert notifications, providers and care coordination networks receive real-time updates regarding patient hospital admissions, discharges, and transfers, including emergency department visits.

1,349,412 patients subscribed for alert notifications to be sent to their providers

1,455 providers/practices subscribed to receive patient alerts

4,948,325 alerts delivered in 2022

Patient record lookup.

Patient record lookup gives participating HEALTHeLINK provider organizations instant access to a consented patient’s clinical record, obtaining information such as lab tests, radiology reports, medication history, and other relevant health information from provider EHRs across the community.

8,216,817 records looked up in 2022

Patient encounter data.

HEALTHeLINK enables the delivery of patient encounter data or continuity of care documents (CCDs) from a provider’s EHR to share consented patients’ medical information more easily and securely among treating providers.

More than 11.5 million patient encounter records (CCDs) uploaded last year through HEALTHeLINK

2,759,407 COVID-19 vaccination alerts were sent in 2022 to participating providers

Since March, use of patient lookup by county and state health departments more than doubled

HEALTHeLINK has 576 data sources including:

525 physician practices

60 long-term care facilities

26 hospitals

10 regional radiology providers

7 independent laboratory practices

4 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 342 million (includes ADT, laboratory, radiology transcriptions, telemonitoring, and discharge medications)

Reports added monthly: 2.2 million

Total participating providers – 6,500

Total participating practices – 2,758

Total number of users – 15,983

96% of WNY population consented


Looking ahead to 2023.

With the merger of Population Health Collaborative into our organization completed and initiatives in place to further address the health inequities in our community, HEALTHeLINK is well-positioned for our next stage in serving as a resource for broad health system transformation through data-informed decision-making and collaboration to improve health outcomes and health care delivery for our entire population.

To join or learn how to better utilize HEALTHeLINK and further incorporate it into your organization’s workflow, visit our website or call a member of our account management team at (716) 206-0993.