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Ohio and Michigan Electronically Connect Doctors

March 27, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Two of the nation's fastest-growing health information exchanges—Michigan Health Connect and Ohio's CliniSync—can now help physicians in both states securely exchange patient information using Direct.

The medical records of Michigan patients who receive care in Ohio can be sent securely through Direct, using encrypted e-mail to the doctor who is providing treatment—and the same goes for Ohioans who cross the border for care in Michigan.

"With this connection to Michigan Health Connect, we're able to serve patients and physicians on one of the borders of our state,” Dan Paoletti, CEO of the Ohio Health Information Partnership, which manages CliniSync, Ohio’s statewide health information exchange (HIE), said in a statement. “This electronic communication shows how we're heading into the future where technology will allow providers to exchange information that follows patients, despite geography.”

Doug Dietzman, executive director of Michigan Health Connect, added that such collaboration between states provides more timely and efficient care for patients, giving physicians current and historical health information that can speed diagnosis and treatment.“We know patients regularly cross the Michigan-Ohio border to receive care and we are committed to making sure those transitions of care are as seamless and coordinated as those that occur within state borders,” Dietzman said.

“The significance of connecting technical platforms between states is that there are real patient-centered use cases behind it,” Dietzman said. “This partnership with Ohio is about leveraging technology to serve people—it’s not simply technology for technology’s sake.”

The partnership means non-electronic communication—faxing, telephone calls, or mail—are replaced with faster, more comprehensive, encrypted e-mails in a trusted environment among authorized physicians and personnel, so physicians have information when and where they need it.

The primary care physician of a student attending college in Michigan or Ohio, for example, can securely and efficiently send pertinent information to the doctor who is out-of-state. Or a physician treating an elderly person with multiple chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol can be assured a specialist across the border treating the patient has everything needed to provide optimum care.

Health records can include such information as patient discharge summaries from hospitals, radiology or imaging reports, medication lists, annual physicals, lab results, immunization or vaccination reports and other information enabling physicians to provide better care. The exchange of complete patient health information means physicians can reduce duplicative tests and get a “whole” picture of a patient.

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