Dentrix and North Carolina HIE

NC Health Information Exchange

Prepare to integrate with NC HIE’s NC HealthConnex system and future state HIEs.

Federal and state governments are currently advancing several significant patient health data initiatives. These efforts are designed to make patient dental and medical records more readily available to all healthcare professionals, as well as to patients.

At the federal level, the ONC Cures Act Final Rule is supporting nationwide sharing of patient data. The Cures Act will result in better information to help providers deliver the best care possible. However, the program’s emphasis is largely placed on the patient and their ability to manage their healthcare. “The patient is at the center of the 21st Century Cures Act. Putting patients in charge of their health records is a key piece of patient control in health care, and patient control is at the center of HHS' work toward a value-based health care system…Patients need more power in their health care, and access to information is key to making that happen.” (

On the state level, North Carolina is at the forefront of state health information exchanges. (Several other states are following closely behind with plans to set up similar HIE systems.) The current focus of NC HealthConnex, is to give healthcare providers greater access to patient health information—from state as well as national resources. The primary goal is helping dental and medical providers improve patient outcomes.

Dentrix has partnered with a Cary, NC based company, Smartlink Health Solutions to connect you to the NC HealthConnex. Smartlink provides an integration platform as a service and has extensive experience working with NC HealthConnex as well as other HIE’s across the country.

To get more information about the requirements of this program visit the NC HIEA website:


The North Carolina Health Information Exchange is the state-managed Health Information Exchange Authority that oversees and administers the N.C. Health Information Exchange Network (NCGS 90-414.7). NC HIE operates NC HealthConnex, North Carolina’s state-designated health information exchange. Learn more at or
NC HealthConnex is a standardized electronic system in which providers can share important patient health information. The use of this system promotes the access, exchange, and analysis of health information to help improve care coordination, quality of care, and enable better health outcomes.
All licensed providers of dental service that receive payment for patient services through Medicaid or state funded health plans are required to submit patient information for those patients. All NC providers, even those not using government payment programs, are invited to participate to create data for better serving all patients.
You should start the connection process now. Though the connection deadline was extended to January 2023, there are more than 5,000 facilities in the onboarding process at this time. Providers should begin the onboarding process sooner rather than later, as we have no guarantees of additional extensions.
Providers can click the following links to choose a Full Participation Agreement (with two-way access to submit and view patient information from all providers) or a Submission-Only Participation Agreement (with one-way submission only). For more information see
No. Only one participation agreement is required for each organization. The Participation Agreement Administrator (PAA) for an organization (point of contact for the agreement) can add the names of additional locations and providers for the organization to the organization’s agreement.
To meet the state’s mandate, a provider is “connected” when its clinical and demographic information pertaining to services paid for by Medicaid and other state-funded health care funds is being sent to NC HealthConnex—either through a direct connection or via a hub (i.e., a larger system with which it participates, another regional HIE with which it participates, or an EHR vendor). In turn, providers may choose to receive information about patients that is collected by other providers.
Dentrix has partnered with Smartlink Health Solutions to connect your Dentrix to NC HealthConnex.
Smartlink charges a fee to complete the connection and an ongoing maintenance fee to support the connection. To learn more about connecting to HealthConnex via Smartlink, please watch this short webinar:
For patients whose services are paid for through Medicaid or state health plans, providers are required to submit patient information. However, by opting out of the NC HealthConnex program, patients can block their data from being shared. Data for “opt-out” patients will be stored in the NC HealthConnex system but will not be shared with other providers. Information about opting out can be shared with patients using brochures available from NC HIE, can be included in the provider’s patient agreements, and/or be found at
Patient data falls into three categories: Demographic data, Encounter data, and Clinical data. Providers are encouraged to submit whatever information is available in each category. No data stored outside the EHR is included.
Providers can choose to comply by submitting only the required data to NC HealthConnex (e.g., for patients being served by Medicaid, State Health Plan and state grants). However, the majority of NC HealthConnex participants send all patient records for the purpose of whole-person care.
Smartlink Health is a privately held healthcare technology company based in Cary, North Carolina. The company was founded in 2012 by a team of passionate healthcare professionals, physicians, clinical administrators, and IT entrepreneurs. Smartlink’s integration Platform-as-a-Service, Smartlink Data Connector (SDC), provides an innovative approach to sharing data between disparate healthcare IT systems. Smartlink is uniquely able to work with essentially any EHR including those that are not required to be meaningful use certified, such as dental and behavioral health.
Providers can find extensive information on the NC HIE website,
  1. The first step is to sign an HIE participation agreement. You will need to specify Smartlink Health as your technical contact. For more information about NC HealthConnex and participation, please see the following links:
    How to Connect:
    Participation FAQs:
    Full Participation Agreement (with two-way access to submit and view patient information from all providers):
    Submission-Only Participation Agreement (with one-way submission only):
  2. After you have completed the participation agreement, you will need to sign a connection and maintenance agreement with Smartlink Health. Complete this form to begin the process:
Smartlink will work with Dentrix and SAS, the technology vendor to NC HealthConnex, to complete your connection. When it’s done and ready to go live, Smartlink will let you know. That’s it, nothing else for you to do.
By participating in HealthConnex, you are not only complying with the state mandate to connect. You will also have the ability to access important information about your patients that may impact the treatment that you have planned. For example, by utilizing NC HealthConnex you may learn that a patient is on blood thinners or pain medication, has a heart problem, has recently been diagnosed with COVID19, or has recently visited the ER.

This communication is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. The FAQs are some of the questions that we frequently get asked about the NC Health Information Exchange (NC HIE). The questions and answers are not intended to be exhaustive and do not constitute legal advice for your particular question, issue or concern. You should not act on the basis of any information contained herein without obtaining proper legal or other professional advice specific to your situation as needed.

Contact Us