Frequently Asked Questions
What is Connie?
Connie is the designated Health Information Exchange (HIE) in Connecticut. An HIE is a safe, confidential way of sharing health information electronically among doctors’ offices, hospitals, labs, radiology centers, and other healthcare organizations. Connie allows health care providers and organizations coordinating care to view their patient’s or client’s medical history.
For example, providers can review recent lab results or see information about their patient’s recent hospital encounters. This timely sharing of information allows organizations to provide safer, updated, patient-centered care. Connie’s first priority is to keep all health information secure.
What is the value of a Health Information Exchange (HIE)?
A Health Information Exchange will help doctors, hospitals and other health care providers give patients faster, better care. Connie offers fast, secure access to health data. For example, if a patient in an emergency room is unable to answer questions, the doctor or nurse could check Connie to assess patient allergies or medical conditions that would affect their treatment.
A Health Information Exchange may also lower health care costs by preventing repeated tests, because doctors can see results from previous tests or labs through Connie.
Are health systems and hospitals required to participate in Connie?
Yes. As of May 3, 2021, hospitals and labs have one year to begin connecting with Connie while all other healthcare providers have two years. This means each of these organizations have the technical capability of sharing clinical data in a secure manner with authorized users. However, this does not mean a patient’s health information will be shared without patient consent, as explained below.
How much does it cost to connect to Connie?
If you are a healthcare provider, there is no cost to connect to or receive data from Connie. For a limited time, some funding is provided to support your connection to Connie.
What is the benefit of joining Connie now?
There are technical assistance dollars available for healthcare entities who connect to Connie now for a limited time. This funding will run out in a few months.
Where can I see Connie’s Use Cases?
Use Case policies and descriptions will be available to the public on Connie’s website once they are finalized.
Is my information secure?
Connie’s health information exchange has undergone rigorous security review and assessment. It conforms with the industry’s best practices in security, such as HITRUST certification. All of its users are required to comply with HIPAA requirements for privacy and security.
Who can access my information?
Only users specifically authorized by Connie and its participating organizations can access data through the HIE. Any user accessing health information through Connie must have a specific reason to do so, such as providing treatment to the person whose health information they are accessing. Careful records are kept on any health information accessed through Connie. All participating health organizations must sign a legally binding document that identifies the extensive requirements for privacy, confidentiality and security of the information accessible through Connie.
Can I control who sees my information in Connie?
You can control whether or not you want your data shared through Connie to authorized users who have a declared relationship with you, such as your doctor or your hospital. However, you can not pick and choose which healthcare providers who are authorized to view your information in Connie have access to your information. You may choose not to make your data available in Connie. This is called opting-out. If you opt-out of Connie, none of your data will be shared with any healthcare provider that you see for your care.
How far back do my online records go?
Connie began collecting information in January 2021. It is possible that you may have records from 2019 in Connie. Ask your healthcare provider when they began sending information to Connie, and what types of information was shared.
Can I see the information Connie has about me?
Connie does not have a way to share information with patients yet. You can ask your healthcare provider what information they share with Connie.
Can groups buy access to my data?
Connie does not sell access to data to anyone, group, or company in any way that circumvents state or federal laws protecting your data.
What can I do if there is a mistake in the information Connie has about me?
If you believe there is a mistake in your medical record, you should talk to your doctor or health care provider since they created your medical record and are the only ones authorized to make changes. You can contact Connie, and we supply you with a list of health care providers who have shared information about you, but Connie cannot change your medical record.
How do I know if my doctor participates with Connie?
Your doctor or healthcare provider must let you know if they share data with Connie or look at your information through Connie. This note may be included in the Notice of Privacy Practices that you get when you check in at a hospital or health care provider office.
Hospitals and labs will be connected with Connie by 2022 while all other healthcare providers will be connected with Connie by 2023, meaning each of these organizations have the technical capability of sharing clinical data in a secure manner with authorized users.
You can see a list of providers who share information with Connie here.
What if I don’t want to share my clinical information through Connie?
You can opt out of Connie at any time. If you opt out, doctors and nurses will not be able to search for your health records through the HIE, and your information will not be available in the event of an emergency. If you want to opt out, click here to fill the opt-out form.
Does Connie share my health information with employers?
No. Connie does not share any of your information with employers.
Is my information shared with doctors outside of Connecticut?
Yes, Connie shares data with national health information exchanges.
Does Connie share information about my addiction treatment?
Connie does not collect or share substance use disorder data. However, information about substance misuse that an emergency room collects while treating you may be shared unless you opt out of Connie.
Do health insurance companies have access to my data?
Yes, if your current health insurance company is connected to Connie, they can access your data via Connie for care coordination and management and for quality improvement purposes. Your insurance company cannot access your medical records via Connie for benefit or eligibility determination.
Will insurance companies have access to the same data that my provider sees?
No. Health insurance companies will only have access to data they are eligible to see under current state and federal laws. Due to laws protecting patients from insurance decisions based on pre-existing conditions, insurance companies will only have access to data during the time period they are insuring a patient.
What happens if I Opt Out?
Any health information that is in the HIE at the time a consumer opts out will be removed from the HIE and no further information will be collected or shared by the HIE. If you opt out, doctors and nurses will not be able to search for your health records through the HIE, and your information will not be available in the event of an emergency. However, any information that a provider may have seen in Connie and entered into your medical record before you opted-out will stay in your medical record with that provider, but will not be shared through Connie.
Do my providers know if I have opted-out?
No, currently Connie does not notify your providers if you have opted out of Connie. In the future this may change, and your providers may be notified if you have opted –out. This will help your health providers improve their understanding of why there may be no information available about you via the network.
Can insurance companies use Connie for claims payments?
There is no current or planned Use Case for providers and payers to use Connie to pay claims.
Will providers send PDMP my data through the HIE, even if I opt-out of the HIE?
Opting out of Connie will not impact a patient’s prescription history in the PDMP. Connecticut PDMP is maintained by the Department of Consumer Protection. Connie may become another means by which a provider can view data in the PDMP, but PDMP data will not be exchanged through Connie. Opting out of Connie will not impact patient data entered into DCP’s PDMP database because (1) the data is only viewed in Connie, not stored; and (2) PDMP data is required by law and patients are not able to opt out of PDMP data being shared.
Can patients opt out of sharing information about medication history?
If a patient opts out of Connie, they are opted out of every aspect of data sharing that is not otherwise required by law. This means that, when a consumer opts out of Connie, some, but not all, of their medication history will be deleted. The notable exception is prescriptions including in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, as they required by law to be report despite a patient’s privacy preference.
If I opt-out, how would hospitals and providers share my information across different health systems if not through the HIE?
If you opt out of Connie, it only means that your providers cannot access your information through Connie, it does not mean that you have opted out of providers sharing your health information in other ways. Hospitals and providers have been sharing patient information through email, fax and phone prior to the development of HIEs. This would likely continue in the absence of sending data through Connie. You will need to opt out with your provider as well if you do not want your health information shared in any format.
I have opted-out, can I go back into Connie?
Yes, you can opt-in to Connie at any time. Patients who want to opt back in, or have any questions, should call Connie Customer Support at 866-987-5514.
Unfortunately, we cannot retrieve the information we deleted when you opted out so your historical clinical information will not be in Connie.
Can a person under the age of 18 opt-out of Connie?
In accordance with Connecticut law, any patient that can legally consent to health services can opt out of Connie. Accordingly, children under the age of 13 need to have a parent or guardian opt-out for them. Because children age 13-17 are permitted to consent to some health services in Connecticut, either the parent/guardian or the child (between the age of 13-17) can opt themselves out.
If I opt-out, does that cover everything?
No. There are some limited and specific instances where the opt-out choice does not apply:
- Public Health Reporting: Certain information is required to be reported by providers to public health agencies, such as monitoring disease trends, conducting outbreak investigations, and responding to public health emergencies. In these specific cases, Connie may be used as the mechanism for the provider to report this information. Also, Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) information, as part of the Connecticut Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), will continue to be available through the HIE to licensed providers once that service becomes available through the HIE.
- Direct Messaging: Healthcare providers will still be able to share your information with each other, unless you have removed information sharing consent with them as well. Opting Out of Connie only stops providers from searching Connie’s records for your data. Some providers may still use Connie to send information about their patients to each other directly. This is the same as when providers share information by fax or by mail.
- As Required by Law: The HIE may access, use or disclose your health information as required by law, regulation, court order or legal process.
- For Connie’s Internal Management and Operations: In order for Connie to be able to maintain your decision to opt-out, we will need to maintain some basic demographic information including your name, date of birth, and address.
What do I do if I think an unauthorized person viewed my records?
Contact Connie Customer Support at 866-987-5514 immediately, and we will investigate. You can also talk to your provider who participates with Connie.