It took about five years, but Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC)—a health information exchange serving most of the State of Michigan—recently linked its 1,000th physician practice to its closed-loop referrals management service.

Soon, the HIE will hook its 1,000th provider to the state’s immunization registry, and it now exchanges more than one billion healthcare transactions annually. Immunizations was an early service but didn’t take off until Stage 2 of the electronic health records program, says Doug Dietzman, executive director of GLHC.

“Very few health information exchanges in the country have reported transaction volumes that come close to the amount GLHC now has achieved,” says Robert Steffel, executive director of the trade association Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative. Great Lakes Health Connect is a member of the association that launched in April 2015.

Also See: HIEs Form National Association to Speak with One Voice

Great Lakes Health Connect formed in July 2014 with the merger of Michigan Health Connect primarily serving the west coast of the state and Great Lakes Health Information Exchange serving mid-Michigan. A number of health information exchanges continue to operate in Michigan, but most of them are proprietary, such as a delivery system, and offer limited services, Dietzman says. His organization and the Upper Peninsula Health Information Exchange are the remaining independent communitywide exchanges out of five major efforts launched several years ago. The state also has an organization that represents and provides services to public and private HIEs, called the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services, or MiHIN.

But Great Lakes Health Connect is the dominant HIE presence with 126 hospital clients representing 82 percent of acute care beds, and 4,000 ambulatory sites.  In addition to supporting referrals and immunization reporting to the state registry, other information exchange services include secure email, demographic and insurance information, admissions/discharge notifications, and a fledging longitudinal patient record. Now, the HIE is working to develop services for long-term care and other ancillary providers, Dietzman says.

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