NYAPRS Note: In New York, Regional Health Information Organizations are local hubs where area individuals’’ electronic health information is stored and shared. There have been eight RHIOs in New York State that each cover different areas from Buffalo to New York City. Two of the RHIOs will be merging: see below for more.
HealtheConnections, HealthlinkNY Advance Strategic Partnership to Merger
Syracuse/Binghamton/Hopewell Junction, N.Y. – (January 31, 2019) – Rob Hack, president and CEO of HealtheConnections, and Staci Romeo, executive director of HealthlinkNY, announced today their companies will merge together into HealtheConnections, forming a health improvement organization that spans 26 counties of the Central New York, Southern Tier and Hudson Valley regions.
The merger follows a strategic partnership announced in September 2018, and, according to Romeo, the teams quickly agreed that a merger would be the best choice to accelerate their goal of delivering improved resources to their regions.
“Our goal for a strategic partnership was to deliver enhanced services and combined synergies that would benefit our stakeholders,” said Romeo. “We partnered with HealtheConnections because they have a proven record of success, and their quality of services and processes directly align with our mission. We’re thinking progressively, and as a combined entity, there will be operational efficiencies and increased value for our participants, stakeholders and partners as a single trusted resource.”
Hack agrees that their collaboration is grounded in shared mission, values and a commitment to excellence.
“We’ll leverage best practices and team skills from both companies to create a stronger organization,” Hack said. “Together, we have an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum we’ve gained in our separate regions, to deliver valued services that enable improvement and efficiencies in health and healthcare delivery.”
HealtheConnections and HealthlinkNY are proceeding with operational and legal integrations that will provide health information exchange (HIE), population health improvement and value-based care solutions to their expansive service area. Hack will remain as President and CEO of HealtheConnections, and Romeo will serve as the Vice President of Strategic Community Engagement Services for the combined entity.
“We’re excited to bring together 4,100 participating providers in 1,800 locations in the Central and Southern Tier regions, with 4,600 participating providers and 1,000 locations in the Upper and Lower Hudson Valley—and this merger will increase usage and adoption,” Romeo said.
An HIE improves population health and healthcare quality and efficiently brings together patient health records from participating providers, creating a single, more complete patient medical history. It allows hospitals, primary care practices, specialists and other care professionals to immediately access more complete patient information where and when it is needed, so clinicians can make quicker, more informed diagnoses and avoid duplicative or unnecessary tests.
Hack envisions increased need for trusted, collaborative services, support, and innovative approaches as healthcare continues to change.
“As the landscape continues to shift with increased quality and cost collaboration between providers, health insurers, and patients, there’s increased need for interoperable, data-driven, value-based solutions.” Hack said.
HealtheConnections and HealthlinkNY are accredited entities operating and connecting their regional HIEs with others in New York State that together form the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY). The merger is fully supported by the New York State Department of Health and aligns with the strategic goals of efficiency and affordability outlined in the SHIN-NY roadmap.
Romeo noted also 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, which will further strengthen through the merger.
As HealtheConnections enters its 10th year of operation, Hack said he believes the organization has reached a true inflection point in which its influence and reach will grow exponentially as a result of this decision.
“We are more focused and determined than ever to leverage our people, processes and technology to deliver the highest level of service to improve health and healthcare delivery,” Hack said. “Our mission is clear, and this merger accelerates us forward.”