Granholm, CyberMichigan Initiate To Design And Implement Statewide Health Data Network

Creating a statewide health information network, promoting quality health care, and protecting patient privacy are goals at the top of the list for hundreds of stakeholders at Lansing’s Kellogg Center, brought together on Wednesday at the urging of Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.

Health care providers and purchasers, employers, health plans, patient advocacy groups, technology vendors, labor, and government officials are carrying out a charge from Michigan Gov. Granholm and other federal health officials to create a common and collaborative framework that will eventually foster an interoperable Michigan Health Information Network (MHIN).

“These 300 stakeholders — who come from all walks of both the health care and information technology industries — have banded together for the first time to build the foundations of a statewide health information network that will ultimately bring our Michigan health care system into the 21st century,” Granholm said.

The MHIN will eventually enable medical records to move electronically with patients statewide, improving quality of care. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT) are providing guidance and leadership for this important gubernatorial initiative.

“The need for a coordinated health information network has never been more important,” said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. “Banking, manufacturing, and virtually all other industries have utilized information technology to expedite processes, improve quality, and garner efficiencies. Health care in Michigan needs to make the same important leap forward.”

The stakeholder group was formed to find ways to best use technology to improve health care quality, increase patient safety, reduce health care costs, and enable individuals and communities to make the best possible health decisions.

“As partners in this initiative, we have an opportunity to make a difference,” said MDIT Director Teri Takai. “Together we can find the best way to realize the promise of information technology to improve health care quality, service, cost and efficiency.”

CyberMichigan, and its parent organization, Altarum Institute, also joined Michigan officials in launching the MHIN. The nonprofit Altarum received a federal grant to facilitate this initial design activity.

“The goal of the MHIN,” said CyberMichigan President Karen Bantel, “is to set in place a common vision and process for how we want to exploit the promise of health information technology in Michigan and, ultimately, ensure that all Michiganians benefit from the higher quality, more accessible and more cost-effective care that such innovations as the electronic medical record can bring.”

“There are a number of very exciting local health IT initiatives in the state of Michigan,” Bantel said. “One of the principal aims of the MHIN is to ensure that, as these initiatives multiply across the state, they are bound together by a common understanding of how data is to be shared, when it is to be shared and with what privacy protections it is to be shared.”

Altarum Institute, based in Ann Arbor, is a nonprofit research and innovation institution that accelerates transformational change in health and healthcare, government and business enterprise systems, national security and environmental management.

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