Michigan's two largest health information exchanges have agreed to begin exchanging patient data effective immediately.
The agreement between Great Lakes Health Information Exchange and Michigan Health Connect, the largest of six HIEs in Michigan, will connect more than 3,000 physician offices and 96 hospitals, reports Crain's Detroit Business.
"It means that most of the clinical information exchanged electronically throughout Michigan will be handled by this new, expanded network. Such coordination is vital to improving healthcare in this state and beyond," Doug Dietzman, executive director of Michigan Health Connect, said in an announcement.
Up to now, hospitals in close proximity often have been on different HIEs. The University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, for instance, is part of Great Lakes Health Information Exchange. St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor is a member of Michigan Health Connect.
"Now both hospitals, serving the same community, can exchange clinical information with no technological barriers. Being part of this agreement is important because it's the logical next step to providing optimal patient care," said Carol Parker, Great Lakes' executive director.
The state's nine original sub-state health information exchanges have shrunk to six, but the goal remains for them to eventually be interconnected with health insurance companies through the Michigan Health Information Network.
The Michigan Health Information Network (MiHIN) earlier this month announced it will provide its services and solutions in an expansion of Southeast Michigan Beacon Community's HIE, BeaconLink2Health. The East Tennessee Health Information Network also is adopting the MiHIN technology to create its own provider directory.
A study from the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT found increasing use of electronic data exchange among physicians, but found room for improvement.
"While most physicians possess the capability to meet certain HIE-related meaningful use requirements such as e-prescribing, physicians are less prepared to meet other upcoming stage 2 core HIE requirements such as clinical care summary exchange. It will be important to monitor these key measures of exchange capability," the study said.