Healthcare providers and hospitals across the nation are starting to utilize Health Information Exchanges, which are not to be confused with the Healthcare Marketplace under ObamaCare.
Health Information Exchanges are cutting-edge data exchanges that allow healthcare providers to exchange medical records between “doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals to better coordinate a patient’s complete health record, in a secure manner, no matter where the patient seeks treatment.”
“Michigan’s two largest online health information exchanges announced merger plans Monday. East Lansing-based Great Lakes Health Information Exchange [(“GLHIE”)] and Grand Rapids-based Michigan Health Connect [(“MHC”)] said their boards have approved a letter of intent to merge operations. The two organizations said the due diligence process preceding the merger is expected to be completed by March 31. If it happens, the merger will involve more than 2,000 provider offices and more than 100 hospitals” Article. “MHC was established in 2009 and formed a nonprofit corporation in 2010. It has the Catholic health systems Ascension and Trinity among its clients, as well as Royal Oak-based Beaumont and Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health. GLHIE has University of Michigan Hospitals and Lansing-based Sparrow Health System among its clients. Both organizations charge fees for their services, and MHC is also a membership-based organization that charges a membership fee.”
As healthcare providers continue to embrace technology into their practices, the technological infrastructure is also growing via Health Information Exchanges to allow individuals greater access to their medical information, wherever they may be. Having a healthcare provider that participates in Health Information Exchanges allows patients greater access to their most valuable health information, in the event that they got sick and need care away from home.
However, healthcare providers need to be aware of privacy and security issues associated with sharing patients’ protected health information in a Health Information Exchange environment, and should work with specialized healthcare counsel when considering whether to participate in the Health Information Exchange.
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