GRAND RAPIDS — Michigan Health Connect is the first health information exchange in the state to effectively transfer infectious disease lab reports from hospitals to the state health department, saving valuable response time during disease outbreaks.

Seven McLaren Heath Care hospitals in Michigan — McLaren Bay Region, McLaren Central Michigan, McLaren Flint, McLaren Greater Lansing, McLaren Lapeer Region, McLaren Macomb and McLaren Oakland — are the first to begin working with Michigan Health Connect to securely transfer the data, which is vital to public health. The reports cover infectious diseases such as influenza, measles, meningitis, mumps, Lyme disease and whooping cough.

“As the state’s largest HIE, Michigan Health Connect is uniquely positioned to quickly, securely and efficiently transfer these electronic records from hospitals across the state to the Michigan Disease Surveillance System,” said Doug Dietzman, executive director of Michigan Health Connect. “We are already working to bring on additional hospitals and look forward to providing this vital link statewide.”

The secure electronic data transfer provided by Michigan Health Connect means that infectious disease records can be sent immediately, in real time, to state health officials charged with responding to disease outbreaks. That eliminates lag time and allows the state to distribute vaccine more effectively, for example.

“Thousands of infectious disease reports will be transferred annually from these initial seven hospitals alone,” Dietzman said. “It’s easy to see how Michigan Health Connect’s system will be an effective tool to help the state gather information so officials can respond with speed and accuracy to protect the public health.”

Michigan Health Connect is the largest provider of health information exchange in Michigan, serving 71 hospitals, 1,904 medical offices, more than 11,000 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.

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