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Week of October 24, 2011

Electronic patient information exchange aims to prevent medical errors

Doctors at affiliated institutions across Michigan and northern Ohio soon will be able to securely share patient information electronically, preventing medical errors and avoiding test duplication.

A new agreement, adopted Oct. 17 between the U-M Health System and Great Lakes Health Information Exchange (GLHIE), will make it possible to securely exchange health information with UMHS affiliated medical practices.

For example, doctors treating an unconscious, non-U-M patient at the UMHS Emergency Department following a car crash can have immediate access to her entire medical record, which may contain critical information about other health conditions she has or medication she currently is taking.

The agreement makes it possible for UMHS physicians to have real-time access to health and demographic information for non-UMHS patients in the GLHIE network of providers. Having the information readily available is important if the patient is unable to provide needed information about his or her health. UMHS health care providers will be able to receive this data from multiple sources, such as hospitals, laboratories, radiology centers, long-term care facilities and urgent care centers.

“This new partnership affirms our commitment to using the latest information technology solutions to benefit our patients,” says Jocelyn DeWitt, chief information officer, U-M Hospitals and Health Centers.

“We will significantly expand our ability to access clinical data for UMHS and non-UMHS patients in Michigan through GLHIE. Secure access to relevant medical information about individual patients from multiple sources will help our clinicians improve treatment, prevent errors and avoid duplicate testing.”

The Great Lakes Health Information Network, formerly known as the Capital Area Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO), is a collaborative health information exchange (HIE) governed by its partners, including Michigan State University, Sparrow Health System, Hayes Green Beach Hospital, Clinton/Eaton/Ingham Community Mental Health, Ingham County Health Department, the Capital Area Health Alliance and local physicians.

“We welcome this partnership as an opportunity to improve the quality of health care for UMHS patients across the region,” says Carol Parker, executive director of Great Lakes Health Information Exchange. “When an institution of this caliber selects you as a partner, it is confirmation of your technology and organizational model.”

GLHIE is a sub-state HIE, and along with other sub-state HIEs in Michigan, it eventually will feed into the Michigan Health Information Network that will enable the exchange of patient data throughout the state. The broader vision for the future is that the Nationwide Health Information Network would connect all the state networks.



Maj. Jonathan Liscombe, assistant professor of the Air Force Officer Education Program, on what inspires him: "People who sacrifice their well-being and wealth for others."


Audra McDonald, 8 p.m. Nov. 4, Hill Auditorium.

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