The University of Michigan Health System, along with two local physician groups, has entered a partnership to share health information across the state of Michigan.

In conjunction with the IHA Health Services Corporation — an Ann Arbor-based multi-specialty group practice — and the Huron Valley Physicians Association — an association of physicians from Washtenaw, Livingston, Lenawee and western Wayne Counties — UMHS has joined the Great Lakes Health Information Exchange. The program aims to provide a secure network to access electronic health records in real-time for physicians in Michigan.

IHA employs more than 1,100 physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwives in 35 southeastern Michigan practices, and HVPA has more than 600 physicians in its coverage area.

In an announcement Friday, UMHS claimed that instant access to records will decrease medical errors and enhance patient care. UMHS said physicians will be able to access data efficiently for patients who have visited other GLHIE facilities.

A real-time exchange also eliminates the current practice of faxing medical documents, which is a much slower access process. GLIHE will pull information from multiple sources, including previous hospital admission and discharge documents, transfer notifications, inpatient and outpatient papers, test results and physician notes.

Andrew Rosenberg, chief medical information officer for UMHS, said in a statement that GLHIE’s database modernizes medical collaboration while speeding up patient record transfers in a cost-effective manner.

“This modern health information exchange will radically change the way physicians are able to share health records,” Rosenberg said. “The ultimate goal is to speed up access to critical health documents while reducing costs and improving coordinated, high-quality care.”

According to Rosenberg, GLHIE hopes to reduce preventable mistakes, such as unnecessary test duplications, with the information exchange.

“When a patient comes to us, we can immediately see which tests they’ve had and that we don’t need to repeat, as well as which hospitals they’ve been to, their allergies and any other health history,” Rosenberg said.

Chris Holda, IHA vice president of information technology, said in a statement that readily available access to basic patient information will improve the quality of patient care.

“IHA is looking forward to building on our important relationship with UMHS,” Holda said. “Through GLHIE, our expanded technical and data capabilities will allow us to have access to critical information about our patients, leading to better and more coordinated care for our patients.”

Carol Parker, GLHIE executive director, said in a statement that the new members will move GLHIE forward and advance the initiative of secure, economically efficient patient health information.

“The addition of IHA and HVPA to our network signifies that we are on the right path to helping with the ultimate goal of creating a network allowing physicians to share health records across the country,” Parker said.

HVPA did not issue a statement and was not available for comment Friday.

UMHS, IHA and HVPA joined GLHIE after agreeing to participate in the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization, a model to expedite information exchanges and incentivize sharing responsibilities through a partnership with Medicare.

UMHS has recently been making news for its emphasis on information technology. In late August, it announced the appointment of Sue Schade as the new chief information officer for the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers.

More recently, UMHS began a partnership with MidMichigan Health, in hopes of improving the process of health information sharing.

—Daily News Editor Adam Rubenfire contributed to this report.

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