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Physicians now have access to minor patient health data through clinical information exchange

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Wed, Jan 4th 2017 08:45 pm

Parents must sign consent for physicians to get access

As a result of a change in New York state policy, participating providers can now securely access data through Western New York's clinical information exchange for minor patients 10-17 years of age. Access to the data requires a parent or legal guardian signing an affirmative HEALTHeLINK consent form on behalf of the minor patient.

"This change in state policy gives parents and legal guardians the peace of mind that their child's treating pediatrician or specialist will have the most up-to-date health information," said Dan Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK. "For a child who may see several different physicians, having access to this information will allow for better more efficient care decisions. It is also helpful in those instances when the child's grandparent or another caregiver brings them for an appointment and they do not have the child's medical history readily available."

The ability to access data for a minor 10-17 years of age is the result of changes to a New York state policy regarding access to patient data through a qualified entity such as HEALTHeLINK. Parents' consent for children younger than 10 has and will continue to allow access for treating physicians.

"Participating providers need to be aware that it is possible that the minor patient's record may contain sensitive information that is protected under New York state law and may not be re-disclosed to the minor's parent or guardian without the minor's written consent," Porreca said.

These services include, but may not be limited to reproductive health services, mental health or substance use treatment, HIV testing and STD treatment or services consented to by an emancipated minor. An emancipated minor is a legal mechanism by which a minor is freed from control by his or her parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are freed from any and all responsibility toward the child.

Parents or legal guardians can complete the consent process on behalf of their child at a participating HEALTHeLINK provider's office, or download the form at www.wnyhealthelink.com. Currently, more than 870,000 adults in Western New York have completed a HEALTHeLINK consent form.

About HEALTHeLINK

HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York clinical information exchange, is a collaboration among the region's hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers to serve the eight counties of Western New York. HEALTHeLINK was created to enable the exchange of clinical information in secure and meaningful ways to improve both efficiency and quality, while also helping to control health care costs. Patients who provide consent allow physicians and providers directly involved in their treatment to securely access relevant medical information via HEALTHeLINK, resulting in more timely and effective treatment at the point of care.

HEALTHeLINK is part of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), a technology framework spanning the entire state that allows health care providers efficient access to their patients' data. HEALTHeLINK has been recognized for its work in building a regional health information technology infrastructure and for testing innovative approaches by both state and federal agencies, including being named a Beacon Community, an effort funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

For more information about HEALTHeLINK, visit wnyhealthelink.com.

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