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Michigan, Ohio Electronically Connect Doctors

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Michigan Health Connect
(credit: istock) Technology Report
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GRAND RAPIDS — Patient care doesn’t stop at state lines in the Midwest any more.

Two of the nation’s fastest-growing health information exchanges — Michigan Health Connect and Ohio’s CliniSync — can now help physicians in both states securely exchange patient information using Direct.

The medical records of Michigan patients who receive care in Ohio can be sent securely through Direct, using encrypted email to the doctor who is providing treatment — and the same goes for Ohioans who cross the border for care in Michigan.

“With this connection to Michigan Health Connect, we’re able to serve patients and physicians on one of the borders of our state,” says Dan Paoletti, CEO of the Ohio Health Information Partnership, which manages CliniSync, Ohio’s statewide health information exchange. “This electronic communication shows how we’re heading into the future where technology will allow providers to exchange information that follows patients, despite geography.”

Doug Dietzman, executive director of Michigan Health Connect, says such collaboration between states provides more timely and efficient care for patients, giving physicians current and historical health information that can speed diagnosis and treatment.

“We know patients regularly cross the Michigan-Ohio border to receive care and we are committed to making sure those transitions of care are as seamless and coordinated as those that occur within state borders,” Dietzman said. “The significance of connecting technical platforms between states is that there are real patient-centered use cases behind it. This partnership with Ohio is about leveraging technology to serve people — it’s not simply technology for technology’s sake.”

The partnership means non-electronic communications — faxing, telephone calls, or mail — are replaced with faster, more comprehensive, encrypted emails in a trusted environment among authorized physicians and personnel, so physicians have information when and where they need it.

The primary care physician of a student attending college in Michigan or Ohio, for example, can securely and efficiently send pertinent information to the doctor who is out-of-state. Or a physician treating an elderly person with multiple chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol can be assured a specialist across the border treating the patient has everything needed to provide optimum care.

Health records can include such information as patient discharge summaries from hospitals, radiology or imaging reports, medication lists, annual physicals, lab results, immunization or vaccination reports and other information enabling physicians to provide better care. The exchange of complete patient health information means physicians can reduce duplicative tests and get a “whole” picture of a patient.

Michigan Health Connect is the largest provider of health information exchange in Michigan, serving 65 hospitals, 1,568 medical offices, more than 7,000 individual providers and diverse providers statewide including Federally Qualified Health Clinics, Community Mental Health and long-term care facilities. The nationally recognized, community-based nonprofit works to enhance patient care by improving access to timely, secure clinical information while streamlining administrative functions for providers. For more information see www.MichiganHealthConnect.org.

CliniSync is Ohio’s statewide health information exchange, now contracted with 87 hospitals for exchange services. Currently, 23 hospitals are live, currently sending information to more than 600 physicians from seven hospitals. The Ohio Health Information Partnership, a nonprofit funded through the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, has assisted 6,500 primary care physicians in adopting electronic health records and is a national leader in ensuring that 10,000 eligible professionals in Ohio have received Medicaid and Medicare incentives for participating reaching “meaningful use” through the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. For more information about CliniSync, go to: www.CliniSync.org.

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