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Welcome to the Cooley Dickinson Health Information Exchange: What You Should Know

As a patient, you may receive medical care from several different doctors and health care facilities. Chances are not all of these health care providers are affiliated with Cooley Dickinson Health Care. Cooley Dickinson Hospital and Cooley Dickinson Medical Group have partnered with participating providers, including Valley Medical Group, Northampton Area Pediatrics, and the Hilltown Community Health Center, to share health information among doctors’ offices, hospitals, and labs via an electronic tool called a Health Information Exchange (HIE).

What are the Benefits of an HIE?

To accurately diagnose and treat you, your doctor or nurse needs information from your medical record. Each of your health care providers may have different portions of your medical record. If they can access each other’s records to see your complete health care “picture,” they can provide more comprehensive care. Also, sharing your health information can help reduce your costs by eliminating unnecessary duplication of tests and procedures.

How Do I Participate?

As a patient of a participating medical practice you are automatically enrolled in the HIE. If you would like to unenroll, request a form from your health care provider’s office or download the form here.

Can I Choose Not to Participate? What if I Change my Mind?

If you choose not to participate, your health information will not be available through the HIE. Your decision to not participate in the HIE will not affect your ability to receive health care services nor is being part of the HIE a condition of receiving care. However, not participating may affect what information your doctor or nurse has available when providing your care. Your decision to participate in the HIE applies only to sharing your information through the HIE. It does not affect health information shared by other means (fax, mail, etc.) between your providers, health insurers, or public health agencies. You can change your mind at any time.

If you decide not to participate, call the HIE Help Line or request a form from your provider’s office or download the form here. Please note that if you choose not to participate, the information gathered previously will continue to be part of the HIE, but none of the providers will be able to access your health information in the HIE.

What Health Information Will Not be Shared?

Older health records will not be available through the HIE. Typically, participating providers will also not share records related to:
(a) alcohol or substance abuse treatment,
(b) HIV testing;
(c) HIV diagnosis;
(d) HIV medications;
and (e) predictive genetic testing performed for genetic counseling purposes. However, information about test results may be available or referenced elsewhere in the record.

How is my Privacy Protected?

Your privacy is protected through computer encryption, password protection, and the ability to track every viewer’s use of the HIE; other safeguards include written policies controlling access to information through the HIE. All participating providers must agree to follow these policies and are also regulated by federal and state privacy laws. They must have their own policies and other safeguards in place, including policies to train their staff and limit access to the individuals who need to know the information.

Can I Withhold Certain Records?

The Cooley Dickinson HIE is not set up to exclude specific visits, tests, or episodes of care or to prevent access by specific providers. If you do not want some or all of your health information shared, you should not participate in the HIE.

How Can I Learn More?

• Call the Cooley Dickinson HIE Help Line at 413-582-2283.
• Talk to your health care provider.

NOTE: Cooley Dickinson HIE and the participating providers reserve the right to change policies and the information included on this webpage and in printed materials, such as flyers and posters.