STHL HIE | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To view and print our brochure, click here.

What is a Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

A health information exchange (HIE) is technology that allows healthcare information to pass electronically across organizations within a particular region or community.  Clear and strict state and federal guidelines govern how the information can be exchanged, viewed, and used.  The goal of the HIE is to make the information available when and where it is needed.  STHL is the regional health information organization (RHIO) that governs the HIE in central NY, and currently serves a five-county area – Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego with expansion to additional NY counties expected in the coming years . For more details, click here.

How does the STHL HIE improve the quality of healthcare?

Through the STHL HIE, healthcare providers have more recent and complete healthcare records available when and where they need them.  Having this information can improve the continuity of care for patients,  particularly for those with multiple conditions and several different providers.  In addition, the STHL HIE can improve the quality of emergency care when the attending caregiver has immediate access to that patient's medical history.

Having more accurate records can help avoid medical errors, duplicate testing, and adverse drug interactions. Improved communication through emails and automatic reminders (e.g., for appointments and medications) can keep both patient and caregiver "on track" with medications, procedure preparation, and follow up plans.

Participants of the STHL HIE save time, money, and paper by having the ability to use the HIE information to complete some of the paperwork.

How can Patients use the HIE?

Southern Tier HealthLink offers an added benefit for patients who want to be more involved with their own care.  Through the STHL Patient Portal, consumers can:

  • Access their providers & health information
  • Manage their consent & share data with doctors
  • Monitor who is accessing their information

The STHL Patient Portal is easy. It’s secure. It’s free. Click on the Patient Portal link on the STHL website to sign up or sign in.

What is a Personal Health Record (PHR)?

A Personal Healthcare Record (PHR) is an electronic file of your medical and general healthcare history - information that might have been scattered across the record systems of the many doctor's offices and hospitals you visit.  Your PHR may include details about allergies, adverse drug reactions, medications you're taking, illnesses and hospitalizations, surgeries and other medical procedures, vaccinations, laboratory test results, family history, and so on.

Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality

Federal and state laws strictly protect the privacy and confidentiality of health information. New York State requires STHL and everyone that accesses information through STHL to follow the same rules to protect the privacy and security of records shared through this system.  Only authorized users can use the STHL Patient Portal and access is audited according to Federal and State requirements.  Safeguards like passwords and encryption also keep records from being accessed without proper permission.

Patients can request a report of who has accessed their records.  If unauthorized access does occur, STHL is required to investigate, remediate, report it to everyone affected, and take all steps necessary to ensure that such access does not happen again.   Patients can obtain an audit report either by contacting STHL, or by using the “Access My Reports” function in the STHL Patient Portal.

Which providers are participating with STHL?

Southern Tier HealthLink covers a 5-county region of upstate New York including Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego counties.  Any healthcare organization in this region is eligible to participate in the STHL HIE.  The list of current participating providers is always available on our website. STHL focuses on continuously expanding our participating provider community.

What health information is available to providers from the STHL HIE?

In addition to patient demographics, insurance information, and healthcare provider data, the following information is available to connected providers through the STHL HIE:

Only information from participating providers with a connected EMR (electronic medical record) will be included in the STHL HIE.  Participating providers using the STHL Clinical Portal can access the information in the STHL HIE, but cannot contribute data. 

To view a detailed listing of available records from each data source, click here.

How do Patients provide Consent?

To authorize an organization to access their records, patients must sign a consent form at each participating organization.  A photo ID is required.  The consent form is available at each  participating organization.

What about Minors?

In New York State, minors have special rules regarding the electronic exchange of health information. STHL follows New York policy for minors.  To learn more about the regulations for minors, click here.

STHL does not currently accept Patient Portal requests for minors.

What is the SHIN-NY?

The Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) is a system that connects the RHIOs (Regional Health Information Organization) of New York State to create a private and secure network that spans the entire state.  To learn more about the SHIN-NY, view this informational flyer designed by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), the organization that oversees the SHIN-NY.

See how the SHIN-NY can make life better by watching this video, or visit

What if I have more Questions?

Health Information Exchange is a complicated subject. If you have more questions or concerns, please feel free to contact STHL anytime.  Click here for Contact information.