Your Questions Answered

What is Hixny?

Hixny is a regional collaboration of physician practices, hospitals, health plans and other organizations in the Greater Capital Region and Northern New York.

Hixny connects providers, patients and organizations to better coordinate care and reduce healthcare costs across our region. Hixny has built a health information exchange (HIE) that healthcare providers use to share medical information. Patients use Hixny to securely access their medical records from healthcare providers across our community. We call this your community health record.

What is a health information exchange (HIE)?

A health information exchange (HIE) is a secure network used by healthcare organizations, providers and patients to share health information. Hixny operates an HIE. We simply call it Hixny. Hixny also provides a way for healthcare organizations, providers and patients to communicate securely using the equivalent of encrypted email.

How does Hixny help provide quality care?

By providing instant access to your health information, Hixny helps healthcare providers make critical decisions at the point of care. In a hospital setting, for example, if an unconscious patient is brought into the emergency room, the physician can immediately access the patient’s health history and also see if the patient has any allergic reactions to medications. In this situation, the patient’s community health record literally becomes the voice for that patient. In a physician office setting, providers can access and share a patient’s community health record and lab/test results.

By giving you and your providers access to your community health record, Hixny is helping to:

    • Reduce readmissions to the hospital following a discharge
    • Avoid errors in prescribing or using medications
    • Improve diagnoses
    • Decrease duplicate testing, helping to save money and time
    • Increase efficiency in providing and receiving healthcare
Is Hixny a state agency?

No. Hixny is a non-governmental, not-for-profit corporation. The goal of Hixny is to help your healthcare providers electronically share health information to better coordinate your care.

Hixny works closely with New York State as part of a Statewide Collaboration Process that includes the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to develop policies and procedures that govern health information exchange. Organizations that exchange health information in New York State, including Hixny, are certified Qualified Entities ensuring that all DOH privacy and security regulations are met.

  • Privacy and Security Policies and Procedures available here
How does Hixny work?

Think of Hixny as a way to connect the information from many filing cabinets. In this case, we are talking about electronic filing cabinets. This connection is important because many patients visit more than one healthcare provider, and each provider keeps records on you. When you sign a Hixny Consent form, you are telling your providers they can use Hixny to share your information with each other to help treat you better and save you time.

Hixny does not store your health information. Rather, Hixny identifies which healthcare providers have your information (the electronic filing cabinets) and allows authorized providers to retrieve it (the connections Hixny provides).

As a patient, you are in control. You decide which healthcare providers can access your community health record when you sign a Hixny Consent form.

Is Hixny like an electronic medical record (EMR)?

An electronic health record (EMR) is a computer-based digital record of your health information. EMRs save a lot of time and help doctors provide better care. However, your health information in your doctor’s EMR is not easily shared with other healthcare providers outside your doctor’s practice. That’s where Hixny comes in.

Hixny itself isn’t an EMR, and we don’t store your personal health information. Instead, we connect different healthcare practices’ EMRs so providers can share your medical information to treat you better and save you time.

When an EMR is connected to Hixny, it eliminates the time-consuming and unsecure processes of healthcare providers having to mail, fax or make phone calls to share your health information with other doctors who treat you.

Is my privacy protected and my health information secure?

All medical records, both electronic and paper, are protected. Rules outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) clearly state who can access and view your private health information. All providers that use Hixny have been trained on HIPAA regulations.

In addition, Hixny uses the most advanced security and encryption to protect your privacy and keep your medical records safe. Access to your information through Hixny is limited to the healthcare providers who treat you. The protection of your information is further ensured because audit capabilities keep track of every person who accesses your information through Hixny.

Hixny offers more privacy than do paper records, which can be easily viewed by non-healthcare providers. We just make it more efficient for your healthcare providers to get your information, rather than making them rely on non-secure methods such as telephone, fax and mail.

Learn more about how Hixny protects your privacy.

When I consent to Hixny, what exactly am I agreeing to?

When you visit your healthcare provider and are asked to sign a Hixny Consent form, you are granting permission for that specific healthcare provider and the staff from only that healthcare facility to access your community health record through Hixny.

Your community health record may include information from other healthcare providers and facilities, such as hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, insurers, other doctors who treat you, and other organizations.

When you sign a consent form, you are only granting permission to the healthcare providers at the facility where you sign the form. You may be asked to sign another consent form when you visit other healthcare facilities and providers.

For more information about who has access to your records, please read the Hixny Consent form.

If I haven’t signed a Hixny consent form yet, how did my medical information get into a health information exchange?

Most physician practices, hospitals, specialists, pharmacies, nursing homes, clinics, and insurance companies keep your health information in some type of secure electronic record.  As an increasing number of healthcare organizations continue to digitize their records, they have the option to connect to information Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) in their region of the state. These RHIOS, like Hixny, act like information hubs that allow this information to be shared securely with other participating providers in the region.  The Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) will connect these regional hubs to create a private and secure network spanning the entire State of New York.

Hixny supports the vision of the SHIN-NY and in order for this model to work your health records need to be available if, and when, you grant access to your providers to access them.  Think about the scenario where you or a loved one arrives at the emergency room.  If the data is already available, you can simply grant access by signing the consent form or the provider can break-the-glass and access your records if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to grant consent.  In other words, Hixny simply allows healthcare providers to share your information when you allow them to, by signing a Hixny consent form or when one-to-one exchange of information occurs.  This empowers healthcare professionals to make more informed care decisions.

Hixny follows the privacy and consent policies developed by the Statewide Collaboration Process that includes the New York State Department of Health (DOH). Organizations that exchange health information in New York State, including Hixny, are required to adhere to the privacy, security, and consent regulations.

For more information about where health information about you comes from, please read the Hixny Consent Form.

New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Policy Guidance

New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC)

“Privacy and Security Policies and Procedures for Qualified Entities and their Participants in New York State” 

Can providers ever use Hixny to see my community health record without my consent?

In an emergency situation a provider may “break the glass” and access a patient’s records, unless the patient has specifically checked “no” on a Hixny Consent form. However, “break the glass” is reserved for only life-threatening emergencies. In addition, every access to your medical information through Hixny is audited for security control. A “break the glass” situation most commonly occurs in hospital emergency departments where a patient may be unconscious and unable to provide positive Hixny consent.

In addition a trained healthcare profession participating in Hixny can, by law, share information in a One-to-One Exchange with another participant.  This information is controlled by the sending healthcare professional in compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations.  Examples of common One-to-One Exchanges include, a provider requesting a lab or image for a patient, or when a provider refers a patient to a specialists.

What if I don't want some of my personal health information shared through Hixny?

New York State consent policy requires that all of your information, including information on mental health or sexually transmitted diseases, be available to the doctors who treat you. However, your information is kept private and secure. Only medical professionals who help provide your care can see your information.

As a patient, how can I access my own community health record through Hixny?

Hixny is working to offer the Hixny Secure Patient Portal starting with some hospitals in our region. The Patient Portal will help you manage your healthcare.

Using the Patient Portal, you can save time and make more informed healthcare decisions by having all of your health information immediately at your fingertips. You can view your medical history and personal health information from the various providers, practices and hospitals that treat you. You can send your health information to other providers. And you can download your health information to your own computer.

If you would like to be notified when the Patient Portal is available to you, visit our Patient Portal page.

What should I do if I feel there are inaccuracies in my electronic medical records?

If you believe that any of the information within your secure electronic medical record is incorrect, please refer to our participant list and contact your care provider to review your records. Based on New York State law, Hixny does not have the authority to modify or update patient records, this must be done at the practice level.