Michigan Health Information Exchange (HIE) Invests in Secure Network

In order to ultimately improve patient care and reduce wasted resources, the healthcare industry continues to undergo its digital makeover in an effort to streamline their workflow and step into the 21st century. Complementing the adoption of EHR systems, network connectivity between healthcare providers and groups is another large-scale issue to be dealt with to encourage the safe transmission of patient medical records.

Health information exchange (HIE) is the mobilization of healthcare information electronically across organizations within a state, region, community or hospital system, according to MichiganHealthIT.org. In 2010, the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information) funded the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program with grants totaling $548 million to help advance state HIE development and standardization across the nation. The Michigan Department of Health was awarded $15 million in the State HIE program.

Michigan healthcare providers are taking strides toward digital healthcare with the future goal to build a strong health information network nationwide. The University of Michigan Health System is partnering with the Great Lakes Information Exchange (GLHIE) in order to facilitate secure patient health data exchange between physicians, health systems and other related organizations.

The UMHS is currently in the process of feeding admissions, transfers, discharges, lab test results and additional documents to the GLHIE. According to UMHSHeadlines.org, providers will be able to click on links in the radiology reports to view medical images by early 2013. In addition to securely sharing patient data, the Michigan HIE network will allow secure communication between providers as well.

Secure systems and applications also need to be hosted in a HIPAA compliant environment that can fulfill the administrative, technical and physical security requirements of the standard. The chain of security extends from the covered entity (healthcare organization) to various vendors that they entrust with the storage, transmission and collection of patient data, including their health information network. One weak link can lead to a data breach of countless medical records; emphasizing the need for all parties to abide by one standard for security – the HIPAA compliance standard (read What is HIPAA Compliance? for further details).

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About the Great Lakes Health Information Exchange (GLHIE)
Formerly the Capital Area Regional Health Information Organization, the Great Lakes Health Information Exchange (Great Lakes HIE) was developed by and for the healthcare community through a collaborative process with the support of the State of Michigan and the federal government. Initially developed as a program within the Capital Area Health Alliance, Great Lakes HIE became an independent nonprofit organization in January of 2009, governed by a Board of Directors made up of representatives from healthcare organizations. The GLHIE mission is to provide secure, digital exchange and access to patient health information to enhance healthcare quality and patient safety for community members and to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the healthcare system.

References:
Health Information Exchange
State Health Information Exchange
State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program
Great Lakes Health Information Exchange
UMHS Partners with Great Lakes Health Information Exchange

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