Two New York health information exchanges, HealthlinkNY and HealtheConnections, announced plans to merge. The deal follows a September announcement the two made, to accelerate their mutual goal to deliver improved resources to their regions.
WHY IT MATTERS
Combined, the new HIE will increase usage and adoption of health information exchange across New York, said Staci Romeo, executive director of HealthlinkNY.
Romeo noted that the two organizations are the only New York State HIEs that support the Department of Health’s Population Health Improvement agenda through regional collaborative efforts, and the merger will strengthen this.
THE LARGER TREND
Though some have doubted their viability, state and regional HIEs have said not to count them out just yet. Even as EHR vendor-driven networks gain maturity and scope, older and more traditional health information exchanges still have a lot of critical value to bring to the table, said John Kansky, president and CEO of Indiana Health Information Exchange, one of the HIEs that is still standing and self-sufficient.
“If you go looking for the people that have the last mile wired or have the data available – and in some cases have it in normalized, curated repositories, ready to be exchanged – it’s the HIEs,” Kansky said.
With the advancement of the Commonwell – Carequality interoperability connection, HIEs have moved from the limelight they once held.
ON THE RECORD
Rob Hack, president and CEO of HealtheConnections said the combined HIEs will leverage best practices and team skills from both to create a stronger organization.
“Together, we have an opportunity to deliver valued services that enable improvement and efficiencies in health and healthcare delivery,” Hack said.
The new larger HIE will span 26 counties, bringing together 4,100 participating providers in 1,800 locations in the Central and Southern Tier regions of New York, with 4,600 participating providers and 1,000 locations in the Upper and Lower Hudson Valley.
Diana Manos is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness and technology.