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Michigan, Indiana Secure Interstate Connectivity for Immunization Reporting

September 25, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Organizations in Michigan and Indiana have successfully established a secure infrastructure to transmit health data across state lines, the Michigan Health Information Network (MiHIN) and the Michiana Health Information Network (MHIN) announced this week. The connection has been established by both organizations, which provide Health Information Exchange (HIE) services for Michigan, Indiana, and other Midwestern states.

The initiative is the first phase of MiHIN's multi-state effort to facilitate the routing and exchange of immunization data between providers who attend to Michigan residents in other states and Michigan's health information registries. Having established a more precise recording of immunization data in the two states, both organizations anticipate this exchange of new information will allow for more accurate patient history and better health care.

 "Working with Indiana through Michiana's MHIN fills information gaps by exchanging health information with our neighboring state for our shared citizens in border areas. With so many of our residents crossing state lines for care in our neighbor states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin, we have to remember that healthcare knows no boundaries and adapt accordingly for the health and welfare of our citizens," Jeff Livesay, MiHIN associate director, said in a statement.  "After connecting our next-door neighbors here in the Midwest we will reach out to 'snowbird' states like Florida and Arizona where so many of our citizens enjoy pleasant winters."

The organizations used technology from the Direct Project to achieve secure interstate connectivity. The Direct Project is a national protocol endorsed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC HIT), and is a form "secure email.” It enables use of the Internet to securely transport health information between healthcare participants who have a certified "trust" relationship. This is one of MiHIN's early goals, to use Direct to send immunization records for Michigan citizens receiving care from health care providers in another state, in this case, Indiana.

"The connection between Michigan and Indiana underscores the importance of technology within healthcare," Tom Liddell, executive director of MHIN, said in a statement. "This project is just one more way that health information exchanges can step up and make an effort to improve the care of our most important population, our children. That's what this is all about."

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