Southern Tier HealthLink Joins the Statewide Health Information Network of New York Service Platform

NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Tier HealthLink NY (STHL) announces its new partnership with the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) and its Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) Service Platform, which aims to create the infrastructure to connect health information across New York State. This will make a truly meaningful difference for patients in this rural community, who seek care from larger, specialized medical centers.

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STHL, which covers the Broome, Chenango, Tioga, Delaware and Otsego counties in upstate New York, brings its extensive network of providers from its health information exchange to the SHIN-NY, along with a functioning patient portal serving 25,000 area patients. STHL is currently the top performing RHIO in the state, in terms of the highest number of transactions between providers and hospitals occurring over its network. STHL has also demonstrated great ability to implement innovative, patient-centered enhancements to their platform and will be sharing these strengths with other RHIOs as part of this partnership.

The STHL agreement brings the SHIN-NY partnership up to six RHIOs: BHIX (Brooklyn Health Information Exchange), eHealth Network of Long Island, Healthix, Interboro RHIO, and THINC (Taconic Health Information Network and Community), which serves the Hudson Valley Region, are the five other partners.

"Our reasons for joining the SHIN-NY are simple: We can consolidate costs and make better use of our grant dollars; we can collaborate more fully to build on strong ideas and execution; and -- most importantly -- this partnership allows us to reach more providers," explained STHL Executive Director Christina Galanis. "In short, we can offer more at a lower cost to our community."

STHL performed a crucial role in its region last year, when the devastating aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene decimated many of the region's small towns. For days afterward, evacuated families still waited in shelters, unable to return to their homes. Many of those displaced required medical treatment. STHL personnel joined healthcare organizations from around the region to provide emergency access to electronic health records through the STHL Health Information Exchange (HIE). At one point in the Binghamton University Events Center, as many as 1,700 sought shelter, some of those with disabilities, many elderly, and dozens with serious medical conditions. 

As a result of their efforts during this regional emergency, The Broome County Legislature issued a Proclamation that March 15, 2012 be Southern Tier HealthLink Appreciation Day. 

"STHL is particularly advanced in patient engagement, such as its pioneering use of social media and its patient portal. We are looking to build on those successes and take similar programs statewide," said NYeC Executive Director David Whitlinger. "STHL has long been a strong partner with NYeC and a valued collaborator."

About The New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC): NYeC is a not-for-profit organization, working to improve healthcare for all New Yorkers through health information technology (health IT).
Founded in 2006 by healthcare leaders, NYeC receives funding from state and federal grants to serve as the focal point for health IT in the State of New York. NYeC works to develop policies and standards, to assist healthcare providers in making the shift to electronic health records, and to coordinate the creation of a network to connect healthcare providers statewide. The goal of NYeC is that no patient, wherever they may need treatment within the State of New York, is ever without fast, secure, accurate, and accessible information. For more information about NYeC, visit www.nyehealth.org

About the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY): The SHIN-NY (pronounced "shiny") is coordinated by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) and functions similarly to a public utility, making electronic health records secure and accessible to healthcare providers statewide while improving patient care and lowering costs. SHIN-NY is a network of information transmitted between users. Like the internet, as more users connect, it grows, evolves, and becomes more secure, efficient, and easy to use. As an increasing number of private practices, nursing homes, clinics and hospitals begin to digitize their records, they have the option to connect to information hubs in their region of the state. These Regional Health Information Organizations collect health record data from the healthcare providers in their area and, with patient consent, allow this information to be shared securely with other providers in the region. The SHIN-NY will connect these regional hubs to create a private and secure network spanning the entire State of New York. To see a video about how the SHIN-NY is transforming health information exchange in New York State visit http://nyehealth.org/what-we-do/statewide-network/.

About Southern Tier HealthLink: Southern Tier HealthLink NY (STHL) was established with leadership and support from United Health Services, Lourdes Hospital and other stakeholders in 2005. STHL is a non-profit New York Regional Health Information Organization (NY RHIO) designed as a partnership which brings together healthcare providers and consumers in Central New York with technology that will improve health care quality, access, and safety while reducing costs. To learn more visit www.sthlny.com.

SOURCE New York eHealth Collaborative



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