New Yorkers get greater control over digital health data

New Yorkers get greater control over digital health data

New York State has the largest health information network in the nation, connecting hospitals, physician groups, medical laboratories and health care providers so they can share electronic health records and provide better healthcare. However, getting patients to consent to share their records has been an obstacle.

Now, the HealthlinkNY health information exchange has launched a public awareness campaign and website where patients in the Hudson Valley and Southern Tier of New York can download and print customized consent forms allowing their records to be released.

Due to auditing and security laws, patients must present signed paper consent forms to every provider they see. In addition to giving consent for records to be released, patients can also fill out forms denying consent to share their medical information, even in the event of an emergency.

According to Christina Galanis, president and CEO of HealthlinkNY, only about 6 percent of people deny consent, and most people give consent because they’re confident their information will be protected.

“All data is encrypted. No temporary passwords are issued. We set different levels of access within a medical practice, so clerical staff sees only administrative information,” Galanis told Patient Engagement HIT. “Also, patients can request a report of who has viewed their records through HealthlinkNY. Everything we do is designed to keep patient information safe and secure.”

More information on the project can be found here.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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