Information for Patients

Consent Information

Southern Tier HealthLink (STHL) is dedicated to connecting the dots among all of the people, places and equipment that deliver healthcare services to you.  We believe that patients should be at the center of their healthcare network, with your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals linked to all of the medical information they need to give you the best, most informed care possible.  Our secure record-sharing system gives them that information – but only if you consent to it.

Fill out a STHL Health Information Exchange (HIE) consent form at your next visit to one of STHL’s participating providers.

Why should I consent to participate?

Participating in a health information exchange (HIE) - that is, consenting to have your records accessible to health care providers in the region and across the country - offers major benefits to you and to your family.

Benefits of Participating

IMPROVED TREATMENT:  When you visit your doctor, change doctors or are referred to a specialist, all of those providers would have access to the same medical information about you, including your previous treatments, illnesses, lab work, allergies, procedures, and so on.  If you are travelling and need health care anywhere in the STHL region (Southern Tier and Central NY), those doctors can also access your medical history.  In time, even doctors across the country will be able to access your records, which will alleviate some of the delays, complications, and uncertainty of getting sick or being in an accident when you're away from home.

PEACE OF MIND:  You may remember the stacks of
manila folders in a (sometimes remote) Records Room at the hospital or your doctor's office - one of those folders held your medical history, and hopefully it was complete, filed correctly, and protected from flood, fire and inaccuracies. These days, your record may be electronic - stored in a computerized data base at your hospital or doctor's office - but not necessarily in a format that can be shared with another provider.  With the HIE, your medical information will be stored in one central, secure, location (backed up regularly) so your doctors and hospitals will have access to the same information.  And you, the patient, won't have to rely on your memory to provide the details of your  medical history. 

Consent Form Options

On your next visit to one of our Participating Providers, you may be asked to fill out a consent form for Southern Tier HealthLink.  This form will allow you to make your consent choice for participating with the Health Information Exchange (HIE).  Your consent options and what they mean are described below:

1. Give Consent: This choice grants your healthcare providers access to your medical records through the STHL HIE.  You can grant access to all or some of your providers that participate in the STHL HIE.  Access is granted at a legal entity level; however, only those physicians or clinicians with an established treatment relationship can access your STHL HIE records.

2. Deny Consent: This choice prevents anyone from accessing your medical records through the STHL HIE - even in an emergency.  Your physicians and clinicians would still have access to their internal records but would not be able to access any of your records through the STHL HIE.

3. Undecided: This choice prevents anyone from accessing your medical records stored in the STHL HIE - except in an emergency.

You can change your consent choice any time by submitting another STHL Consent Form.  The decision to consent is up to you – you cannot be denied medical care and your insurance eligibility will not be affected if you do not consent to have your records shared through the STHL HIE.

Privacy & Security

STHL is committed to protect patient privacy. Electronic records and health information exchange are more secure than paper records. Only authorized medical professionals can access patient information. Except in medical emergencies, doctors cannot access your STHL record unless you give them consent.

For further information on how STHL protects your information, download these documents:

Visit our FAQ page to find out more about privacy, consent, sharing information, and more.