Michigan Blues joins statewide health information exchange

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has become the first insurer to join the state's health information exchange.

Although Blue Cross already has been participating in the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN) for four years, it has now "contractually signed up to be a qualified data sharing organization, which means we now have a pipe between us and MiHIN," Richard Boehm, a director in Blue Cross's IT organization, told Information Week Healthcare.

Participating in the MiHIN will enable Blue Cross to improve utilization, care management and ensure increased care coordination among providers, including guaranteeing that doctors have necessary information at the point of care. "Officially joining the MiHIN data sharing community is a big step in Michigan becoming a connected-for-health state," Robert Milewski, senior vice president at Blue Cross, said in a statement.

Blue Cross, for example, will use information about admission, discharge and transfers from Michigan hospitals to analyze how its resources are being used and notify doctors when their patients are discharged from hospitals. And it would like to use information like hospital lab reports to further improve data coordination, Boehm said.

"BCBSM is helping pioneer the next phase of health information exchange in Michigan," MiHIN Executive Director Tim Pletcher said in the Blue Cross statement. "With the inclusion of health plans in Michigan's statewide network, the opportunities for better care coordination rapidly accelerate."

To learn more:
- here's the statement
- read the Information Week Healthcare article