Health information exchange organizations Southern Tier Healthlink in Binghamton, N.Y., and Taconic Health Information Network and Community in Fishkill, N.Y., have announced plans to merge into a single entity called HealthlinkNY.

The new collaborative will span 11 counties across the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Southern Tier of New York, offering secure electronic access to statewide health information for both participating providers and patients in the region as well as information and tools to aid in health transformation.

As a Qualified Health IT Entity, HealthlinkNY will maintain patients' electronic health records from participating healthcare organizations and provider practices across the expansive geographical region, consolidating them into more centralized and consolidated records.

"Access to these records through HealthlinkNY's single, central, secure platform will allow a healthcare provider to view a patient's complete medical record rather than relying on transfer requests, faxes, phone calls, or even the patient to obtain this information," according to a statement. "In this way, this expanded network will enable more efficient care coordination, reduce duplication of medical testing, and substantially cut healthcare costs."

HealthlinkNY will be governed by a combined 20-person board. The merger is subject to review and approval by the office of the New York State Attorney General and the Supreme Court of New York County prior to becoming effective.

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