GLHIE puts patient records from participating providers at physicians' fingertips.

A Great Partnership

UMHS partners with Great Lakes Health Information Exchange (GLHIE)

issue 17 | fall/winter 2012

To help build a strong health information network, the University of Michigan is partnering with the Great Lakes Health Information Exchange (GLHIE) and is inviting referring physicians to join the partnership.

"This venture is part of our bigger vision of linking patient records throughout the state of Michigan and beyond," says David A. Spahlinger, M.D., executive director of the U-M Faculty Group Practice and senior associate dean for clinical affairs. "The goal is to better coordinate care and to be better partners in the care of patients referred to the University of Michigan."

"We will be able to exchange information with other providers as never before," says Andrew L. Rosenberg, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and of internal medicine, and chief medical information officer. UMHS's electronic medical record (EMR) system, MiChart, an Epic program, will feed into GLHIE. The Health System plans to manage referrals and data sharing through GLHIE.

GLHIE's low-cost Elysium EMR supports meaningful use requirements for Medicare/Medicaid incentive payments and other payers' performance improvement programs. Providers can also "subscribe" to a patient and receive all clinical information as it is sent to GLHIE – of special help if the provider is interested in Primary Care Medical Home and/or Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiatives.

''We will be able to exchange information with other providers as never before.''

Andrew L. Rosenberg, M.D.

"Over time, our providers will be able to view a patient's information regardless of where it originated. This is helpful when patients have been cared for at locations that are not part of the same health organization," Rosenberg says. "I don't have to make individual connections. They're there for me. Our providers and referring colleagues will appreciate the convenience of not sifting through pages of paper records and the ability to see the records of every participating provider taking care of that patient."

Lawrence Hennessey, M.D., whose Okemos Allergy Center participates in GLHIE, agrees: "It avoids repeating expensive tests, which delays getting a diagnosis. It's nice to have U-M in the system because we refer a fair number of patients to them."

The high number of records will also be a boon for research projects directed at improving the quality of patient care, and will capture crucial public health and syndromic surveillance data. "The ability to do innovative work is a plus," Rosenberg says.

"Patients and families are surprised that healthcare isn't as technologically coordinated as most other things and that there is so little information sharing," says GLHIE founding member and board president Brian R. McCardel, M.D., chief of orthopedics, Sparrow Health System. "It's an idea whose time has come." A nominal monthly fee (usually less than $30, depending on services) pays for associated software licenses and support.