Featured August 17, 2014 | crainsdetroit.com | Jay Greene, Crain’s Detroit Business

A health information exchange is a nonprofit organization intended to help hospitals and physicians exchange patient information in a secure electronic format. Data include electronic messages, laboratory, pharmacy and imaging data along with documentation of care and admission discharge and transfer information, or ADT.

Michigan’s foray into health information exchanges began in 2006 under Gov. Jennifer Granholm and with several million dollars of federal funding.

Initially, nine health information exchanges were created in Michigan to allow competing medical providers to share patient information instantly in a secure format and to encourage the exchanges to experiment and grow within their regions.

Over time, some exchanges closed and others have merged, leaving six operational HIEs in Michigan.

Last month, two of the state’s largest HIEs merged. Michigan Health Connect and the Great Lakes Health Information Exchange formed Great Lakes Health Connect, one of the largest HIEs in the nation, with 120 hospitals, 20,000 physicians, 3,000 clinics and 80 percent of the state’s licensed beds.

During the next two to three years, the goal is for the HIEs to be interconnected with each other and health insurance companies through the Michigan Health Information Network, formed in 2007 through the Michigan Department of Community Health with the help of $15 million in federal funds.

Nationally, there are more than 250 health information exchanges, including 160 private exchanges. Eventually, all state exchanges are expected to interconnect to form a national health information exchange.

Michigan’s health information exchanges

Great Lakes Health Connect, Grand Rapids and East Lansing. Members include Beaumont Health SystemAscension Health Michigan, St. John Providence Health System, Henry Ford Health System, Oakwood Healthcare Inc., University of Michigan Health System, Sparrow Health System, Michigan State University, McLaren Health Care, CHE Trinity Health and Botsford Hospital. Data exchanged include radiology and lab results, admission, discharge and transfer data in real-time.

Ingenium, Bingham Farms, a physician-led HIE founded by United Physicians that encompasses 1,327 participating physicians and 1.4 million patients in Southeast Michigan. About 180,000 admission discharge and transfer messages are exchanged every month and 3.5 million laboratory results each year to assist with care coordination.

Southeast Michigan Health Information Exchange, Detroit. SEMHIE is a consortium that since 2010 has focused on a contract with the Social Security Administration to develop an electronic disability claims system. Members include Oakwood, St. John Providence, Henry Ford, Beaumont, CHE Trinity Health, Detroit Medical Center and several health insurers, provider groups and employers.

Jackson Community Medical Records, a joint venture between Allegiance Health and the Jackson Physicians Alliance that also connects more than 1,000 users, or half the providers in the region, including a federally qualified health center and the Jackson County Health Department. It operates an integrated patient chart that includes medication lists, lab results, radiology, disease registry and physician notes.

Upper Peninsula Health Care Network includes the Dickinson County Healthcare System. The HIE is piloting various projects, including sharing information with participating providers on Medicaid and Medicare patients, working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan on claims data and working on a community electronic health record project.

Southeast Michigan Beacon Community is one of 17 similar organizations funded by the federal government to experiment with EHRs to improve the health of various populations. SEMBC focuses on improving care of patients with diabetes by increasing the number of patients who receive the recommended standards of care, reducing costs of care and decreasing nonurgent use of hospital emergency departments.