Citizens across the region continue to opt to have their health information accessible to their doctors online. The HEALTHeLINK program has now added a new tool for Medicaid patients with chronic health issues to be linked to the network.
"We have over 550,000 people who have signed and every day folks are signing up," said Dan Porreca, executive director HEALTHeLINK.
The program was launched several years ago. The health information exchange allows the area's doctors, health care providers and hospitals within the Western New York region to securely share patient information.
Patients who provide consent allow physicians to directly access their medical history. Advocates say it creates efficiency and improved medical treatment.
"What's really encouraging is the fact that those over the age of 60, nearly 60% of those people, residents in the eight counties of Western New York, have signed their consent forms. If you think about transition of care and those who seek care at multiple providers offices, those are the most likely people that are going to have those multiple providers," said Porreca.
That means information would be available no matter where you end up seeking treatment.
Most recently HEALTHeLINK has extended its service to six area Medicaid Health Homes. Porreca explains through the state's Medicaid program, Health Homes can now link to the program to benefit chronically ill Medicaid patients.
"So they can get the treatment they need, they can get the transportation they need, they can get the housing assistance," said Porreca. "It's really a medical neighborhood."
Nearly 600,000 medical practices or about 75 percent of area doctors and all the hospitals across the eight counties of Western New York now participate in HEALTHeLINK.
The online program is now considered one of the leaders in the national for exchanging patient information.